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For decades researchers have known that enormous amounts of energy lay trapped on- and offshore in the form of hydrates—crystalline ice structures containing methane and other gases. Just to help paint a picture, a recent study by the US Minerals Management Service estimated the in situ methane resource trapped in hydrates in the Gulf of Mexico alone at 21,000 Tcf of gas, three times the world’s proved gas reserves. The sheer size of the resource at stake has driven methane hydrate research worldwide.
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