Logo Universitat Bremen
Page path:


Collaborative project: SUGAR III – Submarine Gas Hydrate Resources

Joint project: SUGAR-III-A Strategies and techniques for the production of natural gas from methane hydrate reservoirs

Subproject TP 3: Natural Gas Production from Gas Hydrates

Project: Exploration of marine methane hydrate reservoirs for the evaluation of exploitability

Gashydrates in the marine subsurface are considered to contain substantially higher amounts of methane than all known conventional deposits of natural gas. The global quantity of methane carbon in submarine hydrates is currently estimated at approx. 450 - 10,000 Gt C and thus in the same order of magnitude as the C-quantity in well-known coal occurrences. The joint project SUGAR aims on developing new technologies for the investigation and excavation of submarine hydrate resources and new concepts for gas transport.

Works within the current 3rd project phase SUGAR III

Subproject 3 within SUGAR-III-A ("Natural gas production from gas hydrates") aims at the preparation, implementation and follow-up of a European field test for the characterization of a gas hydrate reservoir in the western Black Sea. Exploratory drilling will be conducted with the mobile sea floor drill rig MARUM-MeBo200 in coarse-sized sediments of the Danube deep-sea fan (Bulgaria and Romania) during an expedition with R/V METEOR (M142) The gas hydrate and sediment samples obtained during the expedition will be analyzed comprehensively for their geochemistry, geology and microstructure. The aim of these investigations is to determine the origin of the hydrate-bound gas, to quantify methane fluxes in the reservoir and characterize migration pathways, and to calculate gas hydrate saturations and their formation rates.

Previous projects and SUGAR phases

Gas hydrates decompose rapidly during pressure release and heating in conventional drill strings, which leads to loss of the released gas. A prerequisite for investigations of natural gas hydrates under in situ conditions is the maintenance of pressure and temperature conditions as present at and within the seafloor during recovery. To preserve the respective conditions use of autoclave core devices is necessary.

Two autoclave sampling devices, the Multi-Autoclave Corer (MAC) and the Dynamic Autoclave Piston Corer (DAPC), were designed in the frame of the former projects OMEGA (2000 - 2003) and METRO (2004 - 2007). The devices were successfully deployed on several expeditions.



In the first phase of SUGAR (SUGAR I; 2008-2011) autoclave technology was developed within subproject A3for the sea floor drill rig (MeBo) in order to recover long-MeBo cores under in situ hydrostatic pressure for quantification of hydrate. The so-called MeBo pressure core sampler (MDP) were successfully deployed during two cruises with MeBo200 off New Zealand (SO247) and with MeBo70 off Spitsbergen (MSM57; Pape et al., accepted).



During the project phase of SUGAR II (2011-2014) a subsampling-system (SuSy) for MeBo pressure cores (MDP) was developed in subproject A2-4 in close cooperation with Corsyde International GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin. SuSy enables extraction of core segments of variable length under in situ pressure in order to precisely determine the distribution and concentration of gas hydrates and to obtain sediment/hydrate samples in high spatial resolution. Precise knowledge of gas hydrate occurrences and hydrate microstructures are essential for the evaluation of expected gas flow rates from hydrate reservoirs.

Gashydrat, blasig

Large piece of gas hydrate recovered with a TV-grab


Deployment of the Dynamic Autoclave Piston Corer from board RV METEOR (© A. Pollmeier).


MeBo-Pressure Core Sampler (MDP, left and middle) for use with MeBo and MDP for use in free-fall mode (right).

Drilling Technology

For evaluations of the capacity of gas hydrate deposits, which are based on gas hydrate distributions and concentrations, application of drilling technology is essential. The transportable sea floor drill rigs MARUM-MeBo70 and MARUM-MeBo200, which can be deployed from conventional vessels in water depths of up to 2000 m, enable recovery of cores from unconsolidated sediments and rocks of up to about 70 m and 200 m in length, respectively.


Structural units of the MeBo

MeBo70 auf FS METEOR

Launch and recovery of the MeBo tested on board the R/V METEOR in July 2005 (© V. Diekamp, Marum)


Bohrmann, Gerhard, Prof. Dr.+49 421 218-65050GEO 1090[Bitte aktivieren Sie Javascript]
Freudenthal, Tim, Dr.+49 421 218-65602MARUM I, 1500[Bitte aktivieren Sie Javascript]
Mau, Susan, Dr.+49 421 218-65059GEO 1050[Bitte aktivieren Sie Javascript]
Pape, Thomas, Dr.+49 421 218-65053GEO, 1110[Bitte aktivieren Sie Javascript]
Ruhland, Götz, Dipl.-Geol.+49 421 218-65556MARUM I, 1490[Bitte aktivieren Sie Javascript]

Project partners

Trap­pe Erd­öl Erd­gas Con­sul­tant

Terrasys Geophysics

Bau­er Ma­schi­nen GmbH

Antares Datensysteme GmbH

Corsyde International GmbH & Co. KG

APS GmbH (Wille Geotechnik)

Schlumberger Limited

CON­TROS Sys­tems & So­lu­ti­ons GmbH

Kongsberg Maritime Embient GmbH

Wärtsilä ELAC Nau­tik GmbH

Karlsruher Institut für Technologie

Helm­holtz-Zen­trum für Oze­an­for­schung Kiel (GEO­MAR)

Helm­holtz-Zen­trum Pots­dam Deut­sches Geo­For­schungs­Zen­trum GFZ

Tech­ni­sche Uni­ver­si­tät Berg­aka­de­mie Frei­berg

Fraunhofer-Institut für Umwelt-, Sicherheits- und Energietechnik UMSICHT

Geowissenschaftliches Zentrum der Ge­org-Au­gust-Uni­ver­si­tät Göt­tin­gen



SUGAR III subproject TP3 is funded through the research program 'Schifffahrt und Meerestechnik im 21. Jahrhundert' of the Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie (Fkz: 03SX381F). Period of the subprojekt: 01.10.2014 - 31.03.2018. SUGAR III is co-ordinated by the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR), Prof. Dr. K. Wallmann and Dr. Jörg Bialas.

Selected References

Abegg F, Hohnberg HJ, Pape T, Bohrmann G, Freitag J (2008) Development and application of pressure-core-sampling systems for the investigation of gas- and gas-hydrate-bearing sediments. Deep-Sea Research I: Oceanographic Research Papers 55:1590-1599. doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2008.06.006

Buffett B, Archer D (2004) Global inventory of methane clathrate: sensitivity to changes in the deep ocean. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 227:185-199

Burwicz EB, Rüpke LH, Wallmann K (2011) Estimation of the global amount of submarine gas hydrates formed via microbial methane formation based on numerical reaction-transport modeling and a novel parameterization of Holocene sedimentation. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 75:4562-4576

Dickens GR, Paull CR, Wallace P, ODP Leg 164 Scientific Party (1997) Direct measurement of in situ methane quantities in a large gas-hydrate reservoir. Nature 385:426-428

Heeschen K, Haeckel M, Klaucke I, Ivanov MK, Bohrmann G (2011) Quantifying in-situ gas hydrates at active seep sites in the eastern Black Sea using pressure coring technique. Biogeosciences 8:3555-3565. doi:10.5194/bg-8-3555-2011

Heeschen KU, Hohnberg HJ, Haeckel M, Abegg F, Drews M, Bohrmann G (2007) In situ hydrocarbon concentrations from pressurized cores in surface sediments, Northern Gulf of Mexico. Marine Chemistry 107:498-515. doi:10.1016/j.marchem.2007.08.008

Pape T, Bahr A, Rethemeyer J, Kessler JD, Sahling H, Hinrichs KU, Klapp SA, Reeburgh WS, Bohrmann G (2010) Molecular and isotopic partitioning of low-molecular weight hydrocarbons during migration and gas hydrate precipitation in deposits of a high-flux seepage site. Chemical Geology 269:350-363. doi:10.1016/j.chemgeo.2009.10.009

Pape T., Hohnberg HJ, Wunsch D, Anders E, Freudenthal T, Huhn K., Bohrmann G (accepted) Design and deployment of autoclave pressure vessels for the portable deep-sea drill rig MeBo (Meeresboden-Bohrgerät). Scientific Drilling. doi:10.5194/sd-5-1-2017

Pape T, Kasten S, Zabel M, Bahr A, Abegg F, Hohnberg H-J, Bohrmann G (2010) Gas hydrates in shallow deposits of the Amsterdam mud volcano, Anaximander Mountains, Northeastern Mediterranean Sea. Geo-Marine Letters 30:187-206. doi:10.1007/s00367-010-0197-8

Pape T, Bahr A, Klapp SA, Abegg F, Bohrmann G (2011) High-intensity gas seepage causes rafting of shallow gas hydrates in the southeastern Black Sea. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 307:35-46. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2011.04.030

Pape T, Feseker T, Kasten S, Fischer D, Bohrmann G (2011) Distribution and abundance of gas hydrates in near-surface deposits of the Håkon Mosby Mud Volcano, SW Barents Sea. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 12:Q09009. doi:10.1029/2011gc003575

Piñero E, Marquardt M, Hensen C, Haeckel M, Wallmann K (2013) Estimation of the global inventory of methane hydrates in marine sediments using transfer functions. Biogeosciences 10:959-975. 10.5194/bg-10-959-2013

Wallmann K, Pinero E, Burwicz EB, Haeckel M, Hensen C, Dale AW, Ruepke L (2012) The global inventory of methane hydrate in marine sediments: A theoretical approach. Energies 5:2449-2498. doi:10.3390/en5072449

Wei, J, Pape, T, Sultan, N, Colliat, JL, Himmler, T, Ruffine, L, De Prunelé, A, Dennielou, B, Garziglia, S, Marsset, T, Peters, CA, Rabiu, A and Bohrmann, G (2015) Gas hydrate distributions in sediments of pockmarks from the Nigerian margin – Results and interpretation from shallow drilling. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 59. 359-370. doi:10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2014.09.013