ANCHORAGE (AP) -- BP is one of six recipients of federal grants to study the viability of energy production from natural gas hydrates, a frozen form of the gas.
BP will study recovering hydrates at three fields on the North Slope -- Prudhoe Bay, Milne Point and Kuparuk -- over the next two years. Natural gas hydrates occur in permafrost and in the sea bed under high pressure.
The Department of Energy will contribute $13.27 million to the project and BP will add another $8.05 million.
Other participants in the Alaska study include the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the University of Arizona and the U.S. Geological Survey.
As natural gas demand increases, the Department of Energy forecasts a potential demand for new gas reserves. Department officials say the U.S. might hold 322,000 trillion cubic feet of gas.
Maurer Technology of Houston, Texas, also won a grant. The company will spend $7.36 million to drill and test hydrate production on the North Slope over the next two years. Maurer's partners in the project include Anadarko Petroleum and Noble Engineering.
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