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Comptes Rendus Géoscience
Volume 336, n° 9
pages 751-765 (juillet 2004)
Doi : 10.1016/j.crte.2004.04.003
Received : 1 June 2003 ;  accepted : 6 January 2004
Natural gas hydrates: myths, facts and issues

Benoît  Beauchamp
Geological Survey of Canada, 3303, 33rd ST N.W., Calgary, Alberta T2L 2A7, Canada 

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Gas hydrates are solid-like substances naturally occurring beneath the oceans and in polar regions. They contain vast, and potentially unstable, reserves of methane and other natural gases. Many believe that, if released in the environment, the methane from hydrates would be a considerable hazard to marine ecosystems, coastal populations and infrastructures, or worse, that it would dangerously contribute to global warming. On the other hand, hydrates may contain enough natural gas to provide an energy supply assurance for the 21st century. This paper attempts to separate the myths, the facts and the issues that relate to natural gas hydrates beyond the doomsday environmental scenarios and overly optimistic estimates. To cite this article: B. Beauchamp, C. R. Geoscience 336 (2004).

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Les hydrates de gaz, substances solides qui ressemblent à la glace, existent de façon naturelle sous les océans et dans les régions polaires. Les hydrates contiennent de grandes réserves de méthane, et autres gaz naturels, qui sont potentiellement instables. D'aucuns croient que le méthane des hydrates offrirait un risque considérable pour les écosystèmes marins, les populations côtières et les infrastructures humaines s'il était relâché dans l'environnement, ou pire encore, qu'il contribuerait dangereusement au réchauffement global. Par contre, les hydrates pourraient contenir assez de gaz naturel pour constituer une source énergétique fiable au XXIème siècle. Cet article s'efforce de séparer, au-delà des scénarios environnementaux alarmistes et des évaluations trop optimistes du volume des ressources énergétiques, les mythes, la réalité et les enjeux gravitant autour des hydrates de gaz naturels. Pour citer cet article : B. Beauchamp, C. R. Geoscience 336 (2004).

Mots clés  : clathrate ; gas hydrate ; methane ; energy resource ; climate change ; natural hazard.

Mots clés  : clathrate ; hydrate de gaz ; méthane ; ressource énergétique ; changement climatique.




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