Welcome to HEI

We regret to inform you that our member Arthur Johnson passed away unexpectedly and suddenly on Wednesday, August 9th 2017. He will be much missed by us and his many friends and colleagues. The website is currently under review, as is the future of our consultancy. Please direct any inquiries to Michael Max

Thank you.



Hydrate Energy International LLC (HEI) is one of the world's leading consultancies for unconventional gas resources, particularly natural gas hydrate (NGH). HEI is well known within the hydrate research community for integrating high-quality science with industrial perspectives. HEI is dedicated to research and development in this rapidly emerging field. Our clients include government agencies, contractors working directly for government agencies, and companies in the United States, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. HEI is focused on activities leading to the safe and environmentally responsible commercial extraction of natural gas from gas hydrate. HEI conducts assessments based on valid science and economics, and on the effect of hydrate on drilling safety and seafloor stability.

HEI delivers special expertise in a broad range of consulting services bearing on natural gas and gas hydrates. These include:

  • New technology developments for NGH focusing on drilling and production.
  • Modeling of potential gas hydrate concentrations for the assessment of resource potential and hazards
  • Regional hydrate assessments
  • Prospect analysis and drilling recommendations
  • Design, commissioning and interpretation of seismic and other acoustic surveys 
  • Optimization of research and work programs for gas hydrates and the Development of integrated hydrate studies. 
  • Special programs and training activities that integrate the science of gas hydrates with conventional geology, geophysics, geochemistry, and stratigraphy

HEI also has expert associates that supplement the expertise of its Principals to solve particular problems.

Our new book, "Exploration and Production of Oceanic Natural Gas Hydrate” that was published in October 2016, discusses the reasons why natural gas will probably be the fossil fuel of choice to backstop increased use of renewable energy.  The book also discusses opportunities for  lowering development costs through new technology.

Arthur H. Johnson - President and Chief of Exploration

Art Johnson was a founding partner with Hydrate Energy International and a petroleum geologist with 40 years of diverse industry experience in gas and oil exploration and development. Prior to the creation of HEI, Art's career with Chevron included most aspects of hydrocarbon exploration and development as a geologist, including 7 years as Division Geologist in Chevron's New Orleans office. Art was instrumental in initiating Chevron's Gulf of Mexico program for gas hydrate studies in 1995 and was an acknowledged industry expert in the field of gas hydrate exploration and evaluation. He provided testimony to Congressional committees and White House staff on gas hydrate issues dating back to 1997 and served on the U.S. Department of Energy Methane Hydrate Advisory Committee from 2001 to 2010, and chaired the committee from 2001 to 2006. He coordinated the research efforts of industry, universities, and government agencies and had a continuing function as an AAPG Visiting Geoscientist. Art was a member of AAPG, SEG, GSA, AGU, SEPM, and SIPES; and was a past-president of the New Orleans Geological Society. He also chaired the AAPG/EMD Gas Hydrate Committee. Art was the Lead Analyst on Gas Hydrate for the "Global Energy Assessment", an international project supported by the World Bank, UN organizations, and national governments. He published over 80 papers and articles, along with several books, on hydrate geology, resource estimation, global climate, and the geology of Mars. Among his last publications are "Economic Geology of Natural Gas Hydrate", "Alternative Energy and Fuels Technology", "AAPG Memoir 89", "AAPG Memoir 101", Global Resource Potential of Gas Hydrate - A New Calculation", and Exploration and Production of Oceanic Natural Gas Hydrate.

Michael D. Max - Chief Technologist

Michael Max has a broad background in geology, geophysics, chemistry, physical acoustics, and information technology with direct application for HEI's clients and gas hydrate research in general. Michael has a B.Sc. (History, Geology) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, an M.Sc. (Petroleum & Economic Geology) from the University of Wyoming, and a Ph.D. (Geology) from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. He has worked for the Geological Survey of Ireland as a field specialist in Precambrian and Lower Paleozoic Geology and continental shelf tectonics, the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC in shallow water acoustic propagation prediction, and the NATO Undersea Research Center, La Spezia, Italy in at-sea experiments and operational applications.

From 1999 to 2011 Max was CEO and Head of Research for Marine Desalination Systems LLC, which established a hydrate research laboratory and applied hydrate chemistry to industrial applications of gas and fluids separation technology. He has been an author on many scientific publications including two textbooks and over 40 patents and patent applications, some still under examination. He assisted in the writing of the U.S. Gas Hydrate Research and Development Act of 2000.  Here's a complete list of publications.

Michael was appointed to the Methane Hydrate Advisory Committee of the Department of Energy for 2014--2017, and is Co-Chair, Diving Committee of the Marine Technology Society. He has been a principal of HEI since 2001 and is also an Adjunct Professor in the School of Geological Sciences of University College, Dublin, Ireland, specializing in unconventional hydrocarbon resources.

Michael is a member of numerous professional organizations and societies including Geological Society of America, Geological Society of London, American Geophysical Union, American Chemical Society, Explorers Club, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Acoustical Society of America, and American Association for the Advancement of Science, amongst others.

William P. Dillon - Chief Geologist

Bill was project chief of the U.S. Geological Survey gas hydrate research program from 1989 to his retirement in 2002. The project encompassed geophysical studies at sea and in the Arctic including area studies using seismic and side-scan sonar methods and direct studies of wells, geochemical research, and laboratory analyses of the physical characteristics of gas hydrate. His main interest has been the use of seismic reflection profiles to analyze gas hydrate distribution and controls in marine sediments. He received a B.Sc. from Bates College, an M.Sc. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography. He left a faculty position at San Jose State University, California, to join the U.S.G.S. as a research geologist in 1971, and was Chief of the USGS Branch of Atlantic Marine Geology from 1982-1986. His primary research topics have been gas hydrate in the marine environment, development of continental margins and the tectonics of the Caribbean. He has published more than 150 articles on marine geology and has been a member of the International Editorial Board of the journal Marine and Petroleum Geology from 1983 to 2008. He is a Fellow of the GSA and a member of AGU, AAPG, and Sigma Xi.