Note! The 2015 Fall Symposium on the impact of a Cascadia earthquake on energy infrastructure led to a National Academy of Sciences Workshop. See the new page on the right.

The Portland State Geology Department has a seminar series most Wednesday afternoons during the academic year. You can find the schedule here

April 27 , 2017 NWEA LUNCH

Multnomah Athletic Club 11:45 am

Timothy S Collett, US Geological Survey, Denver, Colorado 

Arctic and Marine Gas Hydrate Production Testing – Lessons Learned

It has been suggested that gas hydrates may represent an important future source of energy; however, much remains to be learned about their characteristics and occurrence in nature. This lecture reviews recent successes in exploration and production of natural gas from gas hydrate accumulations. Field studies have shown that gas hydrates in both Arctic permafrost regions and deep-marine settings can occur at high concentrations in conventional sand-dominated reservoirs. These settings have been the focus of recent gas hydrate exploration and production studies in northern Alaska and Canada, in the Gulf of Mexico, off the southeastern coast of Japan, in the Ulleung Basin off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula, and along the eastern margin of India. Gas hydrate in onshore Arctic environments is typically closely associated with permafrost. Two of the most studied permafrost-associated gas hydrate accumulations are those at the Mallik site in the Mackenzie River Delta of Canada and the Eileen gas hydrate accumulation on the North Slope of Alaska. The Mallik gas hydrate production research site has been the focus of three geologic and engineering field programs (1999/2002/2007‐2008 Mallik Gas Hydrate Testing Projects) and yielded the first fully integrated production test of an onshore gas hydrate accumulation. The science program in support of the 2007 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and BP-sponsored Mount Elbert gas hydrate test well project in northern Alaska generated one of the most comprehensive data sets on an Arctic gas hydrate accumulation along with critical gas hydrate reservoir engineering data. In 2011/2012, DOE partnered with ConocoPhillips and the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation to investigate a new production method during the Ignik Sikumi test in which carbon dioxide was injected into a gas hydrate-bearing rock unit to release methane while sequestering carbon dioxide in hydrate form. A major milestone in gas hydrate production technology evaluation was achieved in 2013 with the successful demonstration of gas production from deepwater gas hydrates in the Nankai Trough of Japan. Gas production was obtained readily upon depressurization using specially designed pumps that separated gas from water and flowed both to the surface through separate production strings.

The recent production tests in the Artic and offshore Japan have collectively shown that natural gas can be produced from gas hydrates with existing conventional oil and gas production technology. Additional gas hydrate production testing is underway in Japan and plans are being formulated for marine gas hydrate production testing in the offshore of India and China. There is also a proposal to establish a gas hydrate pilot test site in northern Alaska that will allow for extended gas hydrate production testing experiments.

Tim Collett, an internationally recognized, accomplished research geologist in gas hydrates, is chief for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Energy Resources Program gas hydrate research efforts and an adjunct professor for the Department of Geophysics at the Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colo.

Collett, an award-winning AAPG member, has been with the USGS since 1983 and has been the chief and co-chief scientist for numerous domestic and international gas hydrate scientific and industrial drilling expeditions and programs, including the India NGHP Expedition 01 and 02 gas hydrate drilling and testing projects.

He was co-chief scientist of the international cooperative gas hydrate research project, which was responsible for drilling dedicated gas hydrate production research wells in Canada’s Mackenzie Delta under the Mallik 1998 and 2002 efforts.

Collett also was the logging scientist on the Gulf of Mexico JIP Gas Hydrate Research Expedition in 2005 and the Gulf of Mexico JIP Leg II drilling project in 2009, and is the co-chief scientist of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 311. He sailed as a science advisor on the Korean UBGH2 Expedition in 2010.

He was the principal investigator responsible for organizing and conducting the 1995 and 2008 USGS National Oil and Gas Assessment of natural gas hydrates.

Collett’s current research efforts at the USGS deal mostly with domestic and international gas hydrate energy resource characterization studies. His ongoing gas hydrate assessment activities in Alaska are focused on assessing the energy resource potential of gas hydrates on the North Slope and supporting the domestic marine gas hydrate assessments being led by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Collett’s international gas hydrate activities include cooperative projects with research partners in India, Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan and Canada.

He is a recipient of the U.S. Department of the Interior Meritorious Service Award, the Golomb-Chilinger Medal from the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, and the Natural Resources of Canada Public Service Award. An active member in the EMD Gas Hydrates Committee, Collett also is a recipient of the EMD Frank Kottlowski Memorial Award.

He has published more than 200 research papers along with 10 books and treatises on gas hydrates and other unconventional resources, including AAPG Memoir 89: Natural Gas Hydrates — Energy Resource Potential and Associated Geologic Hazards.


May 18, 2017 NWEA Lunch 11:45 am

Peter R. Rose, Ph. D

Objective Overview of Global Climate Change in 2016: A Geological Perspective

The relative contribution of Man's activities, as opposed to Nature's activities, to observed recent rises in global temperatures, is unresolved. In addition to the oft-noted (and increasing) inability of climate modeling to reproduce the documented recent past, two other major shortcomings of contemporary climate studies are that 1) they rest upon very short time spans, whereas climate change considered from a geological perspective encourages much less anxiety; and 2) they do not consider other pertinent disciplines, such as a) recorded history; b) geology, and c) astrophysics and cosmology. The latter three disciplines argue against Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW). Global sea-level rise relates to the current interglacial cycle, and is not accelerating. Reliable data on frequency and intensity of tornadoes, hurricanes and drought demonstrate no increase with rising temperatures, thus muting the reality of “extreme climate events” caused by rising atmospheric CO2.

Although it is true that increasing atmospheric CO2 does cause some atmospheric warming, growing evidence suggests that the effect is minor, and diminishes as CO2 concentration continues to rise. Indeed, rising atmospheric CO2 leads directly to increased agricultural productivity! It now seems probable that most observed 20th century global warming is the result of natural causes. If so, proposed voluntary economic initiatives by Western nations to limit CO2 emissions will constitute a serious and unnecessary economic wound, self-inflicted at the worst possible time. Still unexplained is the fact that no measurable atmospheric warming occurred for more than 18 years (1998-2015), while atmospheric CO2 concentration continued rising steadily. This casts doubt on the effectiveness of CO2 in causing significant atmospheric warming (“climate sensitivity”). Sunspot cycles suggest that we are about to enter an extended period of global cooling, and recent research results from CERN (Geneva) support the view that most warming relates to variations in solar irradiation, as well as the still poorly understood influence of clouds as amplifying or diminishing agents.

Recent and continuing unsavory revelations (“Climate Gates I and II”) have also cast doubt on the objectivity of the science underpinning CAGW, motivated by ideology and the search for research funding.  Indeed, the greatest threat posed by the whole controversial CAGW campaign of the past 25 years may be the loss of public confidence in the integrity of Western Science.

U. S. prosperity correlates closely with energy use. We must assure a reliable supply of affordable energy if the Nation is to maintain an acceptable standard of living and continue as a world power.  Our energy-supply concerns of 1990-2012 had four main components: 1] the false but widespread belief that the world was running out of oil, and that so-called “Peak Oil” was imminent; 2] the real global convergence of crude-oil demand (much by the “emerging economies”) upon crude-oil supply, now somewhat abated; 3] the perceived threat of CAGW; and 4] the mortgaging of U. S. assets for overseas crude oil, also now declining. We are now into a widespread “paradigm shift” that could – if we have the national will -- move us away from national “panic mode” to a focus on 1) adaptation to climate change; 2) deployment of new energy sources; and 3) increased energy efficiency. This should allow us to move into systematic long-term National energy planning, which will require bipartisan political support, stable economic policy and a sound factual basis.

Dr. Pete Rose (Ph. D., Geology, University of Texas, Austin) has been a professional geologist for 55 years, specializing in Petroleum Geology, E&P Risk Analysis, and Mineral Economics. Before going on his own in 1980 as an independent prospector and consultant, he worked for Shell Oil Company, the United States Geological Survey, and Energy Reserves Group, Inc, a small-cap Independent.

After 10 years as an internationally-recognized authority on economic risking of exploration drilling ventures, he founded Rose & Associates, LLP, in 1998.  Pete retired in 2005; the firm continues as the global standard among consulting companies in that field, providing instruction, software and consulting services on an international scale.

Pete wrote the definitive geological monograph on the Edwards Limestone of Texas (Rose, 1972), and has continued related investigations to the present time.  His 2001 book, Risk Analysis and Management of Petroleum Exploration Ventures, now in its 7th printing, is considered by many as the “Bible” on that topic, and has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, and Russian.  He has authored or co-authored more than 80 published articles on an extremely wide variety of geological topics (Micropaleontology to Petroleum Economics). He was a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Geological Society of London.

In 2005 he was the 89th President of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, an international organization that is the largest professional geological society in the world (>37,000 members).

In 2006-07 he was a member of the National Petroleum Council, involved with their summary of the global energy situation, Facing the Hard Truths about Energy, and was also deeply involved in successful efforts to encourage the U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission to modernize its rules governing estimation and disclosure of oil and gas reserves, thus facilitating the investment component of the “shale revolution” in the U. S.

In 2013, the Geological Society of London awarded Peter R. Rose its prestigious Petroleum Group Medal for lifetime contributions to Petroleum Geology, the first American to be so recognized, and in 2014 the American Association of Petroleum Geologists honored him with its Halbouty Outstanding Leadership Award.

Pete is a 5th-generation Texan.  He and his wife Alice have 5 children and 8 grandchildren, and divide their time between Austin and their El Segundo Ranch near Telegraph, Texas.  In retirement, he took up a new career as a historian: in September 2012, Texas Tech University Press published his book, The Reckoning: the Triumph of Order on the Texas Outlaw Frontier, about the coming of Order and Law to the western Hill Country and Edwards Plateau regions of Texas (1873-1883). He is also well known for field trips he leads with Dr. Charles Woodruff into the Texas Hill Country that combine the topics of Geology, Wineries, and Frontier History.

Northwest Energy Association