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Jeffrey Priest

Faculty Listing

Civil Engineering

Jeffrey Priest


Associate Professor, CRC Tier II Chair in Geomechanics of Gas Hydrates

(403) 210-9618

ENF 216


Although new to Calgary I have extensive experience in research on gas hydrates and have made significant contributions in the area. I was responsible for helping develop the gas hydrate dynamic testing facility at University in Southampton, UK, which included the only resonant column capable of determining the physical properties of gas hydrate bearing soils. This apparatus has been used extensively to research the influence of synthetic gas hydrate morphology on soil characteristics.  My research on naturally occurring hydrates in fine grained marine sediments (collaboration with Geotek, UK) identified, using X-ray CT, the extensive disturbance to soil structure that occurs during gas exsolution resulting from rapid depressurization of pressure cores. These observations led to the development of the PCATS:Triaxial apparatus, the first apparatus of its kind able to determine the geomechanical properties of deep water marine sediments under insitu stresses, particularly hydrate-bearing sediments. This apparatus has been trialed during the recent JOGMEC sponsored research expedition (June 2012) to the Nankai trough, off the east coast of Japan using the Deep Sea Drilling Vessel (D/V) CHIKYU, as well as the GMGS sponsored expedition in the South China Seas (Summer 2013).  In addition to these expeditions, I have also participated on the UBGH 1 (2007) & UBGH 2 (2010) gas hydrate expeditions sponsored by South Korea.  

I have published extensively on gas hydrates, including peer assessed journals and conferences, particularly the International Conferences on Gas Hydrates (ICGH5-7).   I was an invited speaker at the ICGH5, ICGH7 conferences and the 7th International Workshop on Methane Hydrates R&D (Fiery Ice 2010) as well as presenting this research to the Centre for Offshore Research and Engineering at the National University of Singapore.  

Other areas of research that I have been involved in, and interest me, are: advanced soil characterization, through dynamic and static laboratory testing  - considering factors such as particle shape and the degree of saturation. Field and laboratory investigations into the behavior of railway foundations during dynamic loading – considering affects such as load, speed and frequency


Interested in Graduate Studies & Post-Doctoral Fellows Our group is looking to expand its research and therefore are looking for energetic, proactive, and enthusiastic graduate students and funded post-doctoral fellows (PDFs). Although research opportunities are within areas of research listed above, projects can be tuned to your interests.

If you are interested in working in Calgary and for our group please email me ( with your CV showing a summary of your undergraduate/graduate grades. Please also include a brief summary of your research interests. If I am interested, I will contact you

Research Activities: 

Methane gas hydrate is an ice-like compound (formed from hydrocarbon gases and water) that is found in harsh environments such as those that exist in sediments offshore Canada’s continental margins and beneath the permafrost in Arctic regions. Hydrates are stable under conditions of low temperature and high pressure, which if sufficiently altered can lead to dissociation of hydrate back to its basic components of gas and water.  The abundance of natural gas contained in hydrate and its widespread distribution has led to the potential of hydrate being a vast, as yet untapped, resource of clean, unconventional natural gas. However, the destabilizing behaviour during dissociation indicates that hydrate may also play a role in exacerbating future climate change as well as influence the stability of continental slopes in which it is found. At present, assessing the role of gas hydrate in any of these scenarios requires a fundamental understanding of the interaction between the hydrate and the host sediment and how this may change temporally during gas production or global warming. My research, in collaboration with Dr. Grozic, aims to develop innovative and novel laboratory techniques to address current ambiguities that exist in understanding the influence of gas hydrate on the geomechanical behavior of the host sediment.

Current and future areas of research include:

  • Improved understanding of the stiffness, strength, and deformation behavior of hydrate-bearing sediments based on experimental results;
  • Improved understanding of the permeability of hydrate-bearing sediments, and factors affecting it based on experimental results;
  • Enhanced insight into hydrate formation processes, focusing on intact natural hydrate sediments, through the development of novel laboratory testing apparatus;
  • Quantification of the geomechanical response of hydrate-bearing sediments during field production scenarios, including sand production, gas and water flow, and reservoir subsidence, through validation and application of numerical and analytical models;
  • Assessment of the influence of gas hydrate formation and dissociation in offshore geohazards, with a focus on submarine slope stability, based on numerical modelling.

B. Eng (Hons) University of Southampton
Ph.D. University of Southampton