About a year ago, published an article on the Chinese expedition in the South-Korean sea unique resource for the study: "Combustible ice" (natural gas hydrate). It looks like Japan moving in this direction is much faster as already learned to extract methane from that fuel from the bottom of the ocean.
Japanese public corporation of oil, gas and metals (JOGMEC) for the first time in the world able to produce methane from gas hydrates on the ocean floor, also known as "combustible ice." This was March 12 Reuters reported, citing a representative office.
According to the Japanese Ministry of Trade, production testing at the field near the central coast last about two weeks. For the conversion of "combustible ice" in methane Japanese experts use the method of depressurization.
Experts estimate that the deposits of "combustible ice" at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean off the Japanese coast are about 1.1 trillion cubic meters. This amount will be enough to fuel the country for 11 years.
JOGMEC plans to start trial production of gas from hydrates in the spring of next year, and the commercial use of appropriate technology — in 2018.
Since 2001, Japan, which covers almost all of its fuel needs through imports, has invested in technology to produce methane from hydrates several hundred million dollars. In 2008 in Canada, JOGMEC has already successfully experimented with the production of methane from "combustible ice" on permafrost. Canada, Norway, the U.S. and China are also considering the deposits of hydrates as an alternative energy source.
Methane Hydrate — methane compound with water, is stable at low temperatures and elevated pressures. Thanks to its structure hydrate volume of 1 cubic centimeter can be up to 1.6-1.8 cubic meters of clean gas.
According to the Ministry of Energy of Russia, that an agency has submitted to the Government in October 2012, the reserves of gas hydrates in the world can exceed all other gas reserves combined. However, their development is still too complex and expensive, so in the next 10-20 years a big impact on the industry research in this area will not have any. However, Russian scientists have found that only in the Black Sea gas hydrate reserves reach 30 trillion cubic meters.