Gas hydrates (clathrates) are molecular compounds with crystalline structure, formed under certain conditions of pressure and temperature for which gas molecules occupy structural lattices formed by water molecules through hydrogen bonding. Many gases, but not all, can form hydrates 1. Methane and carbon dioxide notably can form hydrates in water at high pressure and low temperature and hydrates of both gases are known to exist naturally in sediments and geological structures below the sea 2.

Methane (natural gas) hydrate is of very wide occurrence in the geological formations below the sea. It is generally agreed that the amount of energy in the methane hydrate is at least twice the worlds total energy reserves in other fossil fuel forms including gas, oil and coal; estimates of the methane sequestered in methane hydrates range from approximately 1015m3 to 7.6×1018m3, with a...

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