Japan successfully extracted methane hydrate, also called “fire ice,” from its seabed, according to officials. Production is a test for now, but by 2018 Japan plans for commercial production of methane hydrate.
Natural gas, which is favored in the energy industry as a clean burning energy source, is predominately methane. Methane hydrate is molecules of natural gas trapped in an ice-like material of water molecules.
“Methane hydrate receives attention as one of the unconventional gas resources in the future,” states the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) in a press release.
The coast of Atsumi and Shima peninsulas is where the methane hydrate is located and where the JOGMEC is drilling.
The offshore production of methane hydrate in Japan is just a test at the moment and is not intended for commercial production.
It’s seen as an “experimental operation as an activity in research,” which will “be a big progress in research and development of methane hydrate as a resource,” according to JOGMEC.
They are looking at the data of the methane hydrate under the sea floor and the impact to the surrounding environment, which they hope to discover through the test.
In the meantime, they will continue on to the next phase in the offshore production and by 2016-2018 the plan is to have a technical platform for future commercial production of methane hydrate.
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