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Gas hydrate, a solid form of natural gas and water, is inferred to widely occur in Canadian polar and continental shelf regions and in sediment of outer continental margins. Although direct indications of hydrate are few and widely separated, conditions potentially favorable for gas hydrate formation and stability, especially low to moderate temperatures under permafrost or the deep sea, combined with favorable geological conditions for gas generation and storage, cover vast areas and indicate an immense potential for natural hydrocarbon gas in the upper 2 km of many Canadian sedimentary basins. We have analyzed the potential of gas hydrates for the vast continental shelves and Arctic permafrost regions of Canada (Mackenzie delta-Beaufort Sea and Arctic Archipelago in the north and Davis Strait, the Labrador Shelf, Scotian Shelf, and Grand Banks of Newfoundland along the Canadian Atlantic margin and Canadian Pacific margin). Our conservative calculation suggests 1010-1012 m3 of gas hydrates in these regions has an associated methane gas potential estimated to be in the range of 1012-1014 m3. The volume of methane in hydrates in Canada are geographically distributed in the following regions: 0.24-8.7 x 1013 m3 in the Mackenzie delta-Beaufort Sea, 0.19-6.2 x 1014 m3 in the Arctic Archipelago, 1.9-7.8 x 1013 m3 on the Atlantic margin, and 0.32-2.4 x 1013 m3 on the Pacific margin. The total in-situ amount of methane in hydrates of Canada is estimated to be 0.44-8.1 x 1014 m3, as compared to a conventional Canadian in-situ hydrocarbon gas potential of approximately 0.27 x 1014 m3. This comparison suggests that gas hydrates represent a possible future assurance of North American energy supply if the gas can be recovered and separated from the hydrate form.
J. A. Majorowicz is a graduate of the University of Warsaw, Poland (M.Sc. degree in physics, 1970). He received his Ph.D. from the Geological Institute, Warsaw, Poland, in 1976. He did his research in Warsaw and in Pisa, Italy, (1974) and Ottawa, Canada, (1978-1980). Majorowicz worked at the Physics Department of the University of Alberta in the 1980s. He has been cooperating with the Geological Survey of Canada and Environment Canada on several projects related to foreland basins, gas hydrates, and geothermal energy and is presently working as a private consultant. His professional interests include pure and applied geophysics in applications to basin analysis, crustal structure, lithosphere-asthenosphere evolution, surface environmental problems, heat flow, gas hydrate stability, energy and greenhouse gas storage, and global warming. He has published more than 50 scientific articles in international journals. He is an American Geophysical Union member and recently joined AAPG.K. G. Osadetz is a graduate of the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, (B.Sc. degree, 1978; M.Sc. degree, 1983). He is the head of the Energy and Environment Subdivision at the Geological Survey of Canada's Calgary office. The Energy and Environment Subdivision has national responsibility for organic geochemistry, organic petrography, and hydrocarbon and coal resource assessments and regional responsibility for environmental geoscience, particularly as related to the impact of fossil fuel production and consumption. Osadetz leads the national program of hydrocarbon resource evaluation for Canada, as well as having research interests related to the characterization of hydrocarbon systems in Canadian sedimentary basins, particularly the Williston basin and the foreland of the Western Cordillera. Before joining the Geological Survey he worked as a geologist in the exploration departments of Gulf Canada Resources Inc. and PetroCanada Resources Inc. in Calgary.