Pressure Coring in the Gulf of Mexico

Pressure Coring in the Gulf of Mexico

In May 2017, Geotek took a crucial role in acquiring, analysing, sub-sampling, storing and transporting fully pressurised gas hydrate cores from the Gulf of Mexico Expedition-1 (GOM2 Expedition-1). The expedition was to test the Geotek Pressure Core Tool with Ball Value (PCTB) for recovery and quality of samples, whilst at the same time reveal the chemistry of the gas hydrate and the physical properties of the reservoir sediments. Gas hydrates are composed of frozen pockets of methane, making it a contender for an efficient source of unconventional energy.  There is global interest surrounding this possibility, so scientific programmes like GOM2 Expedition-1, or other more recent pressure coring expeditions in China and Japan (where the PCTB tool was also used) improve the understanding of the development of hydrate accumulations and ultimately how this resource can be exploited.

A PCATS X-ray CT slab showing the high quality of pressure cores retrieved from the expedition. Picture from Fire in the Ice, Vol 17, i2.

The science team along with Geotek were working aboard the Helix Q4000, using a fleet of Geotek portable laboratories including Pressure Coring and Analysis Transfer System (PCATS) and associated de-gassing systems. These laboratories were used for both field and onshore measurements. GOM2 Expedition-1 aimed to acquire samples for use throughout laboratories in the US, providing insight into the nature of the gas hydrate resource.

GOM2 Expedition-1 was able to safely gather core samples with a 77% recovery using the PCTB and analyse them non-destructively with the PCATS systems in the field. The team secured 21 1 metre samples of high quality pressure core, with many of the cores showing minimal disturbance.

Since the field operations, the depressurised and pressurised cores have been moved to multiple universities around the US. The pressurised samples were shipped using Geotek’s unique pressure core transport system to the University of Texas, where analysis will continue using a Geotek mini-PCATS system.

University of Texas pressure core laboratory showing a Geotek mini-PCATS system and Geotek pressure core storage chambers.


Find out more about the expedition by following this link:

To find out more about our PCATS and PCTB systems, please contact Geotek using the link: