Biogenic Methane Potential (BioMeP), Phase II

The rising energy demand favors exploration of underexplored hydrocarbon resources such as biogenic methane, which accounts for as much as 20% of the world's natural gas resource. New interest in this resource is growing in the industry and rising exploration efforts show its increasing significance for future energy supply. Accumulations of biogenic gas are widespread and occur in a variety of depositional settings (marine and non-marine) and rock types (siliciclastics, carbonates and coal). Deltaic regions, deep-water clastic settings, shelves and coal swamps are favorable habitats.

Key questions for future exploration activities are:

  1. Which marine or non-marine sediments are most promising for biogenic methane formation, and where do they occur?
  2. How much biogenic methane is being generated currently, and how much was generated in the geological past?
  3. Which are/were the controlling factors for biogenic methane generation, and how much was intermediately stored as hydrate with a potential to survive as free gas?

New findings in this research area may help in the exploration of biogenic methane. A new approach was developed and tested in the BioMeP, Phase I project. Results and findings were integrated into a modeling platform PEaCH4. Optimizing PEaCH4 is the main part of this second phase of the BioMeP project.


  • optimize PEaCH4 (BioMeP, Phase I) and develop the advanced more user friendly modelling platform PEaCH4 v. 2.0
  • predict early diagenetic processes in marine sediments
  • calculate amount, timing, fate and behavior of biogenic methane
  • calculate carbon mass balances 


  • Hans-Martin Schulz
  • Esther Arning
  • Steffen Häußler


  • Petrobras
  • Total
  • Prof. Wolfgang van Berk, TU Clausthal


  • Arning ET, van Berk W, Schulz H-M (submitted) Marine organic matter in reaction transport models: revision and validation of the traditional “CH2O”. Geo-Marine Letters.
  • Arning ET, Gaucher EC, van Berk W, Schulz H-M (2015) Hydrogeochemical models locating sulfate-methane transition zone in marine sediments overlying black shales: A new tool to locate biogenic methane? Marine and Petroleum Geology 59: 563-574. doi: 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2014.10.004.
  • Krüger M, van Berk W, Arning ET, Jinménez N, Schovsbo NH, Straaten N, Schulz H-M (2014) The biogenic methane potential of European gas shale analogues: Results from incubation experiments and thermodynamic modelling. International Journal of Coal Geology 136: 59-74. doi:10.1016/j.coal.2014.09.012.
  • Arning ET, van Berk W, Schulz H-M (2013) Thermodynamic modeling of complex sediment-water-gas interactions during early diagenesis. Procedia Earth and Planetary Science 7: 27-30. doi: 10.1016/j.proeps.2013.03.090.
  • Arning ET, van Berk W, Vaz dos Santos Neto E, Naumann R, Schulz H-M (2013) Quantification of methane formation in Amazon Fan sediments (ODP Leg 155, Site 938) by means of hydrogeochemical modelling solid – aqueous solution – gas interactions. Journal of South American Earth Sciences 42: 205-215. doi:10.1016/j.jsames.2012.12.001.
  • Arning ET, van Berk W, Schulz H-M (2012) Quantitative geochemical modeling along a transect off Peru: Carbon cycling in time and space, and triggering factors for carbon loss and storage. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 26: 1-18. doi:10.1029/2011GB0074156.
  • Arning ET, Fu Y, van Berk W, Schulz H-M (2011) Organic carbon conversion as the control of complex, early diagenetic solid – aqueous solution – gas interactions: Case study ODP Leg 204, Site 1246 (Hydrate Ridge). Marine Chemistry 126: 120-131. doi:10.1016/j.marchem.2011.04.006 
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