Seabed test for methane hydrate set

Kyodo

In the first experiment of its kind, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. will begin a test project Sunday aimed at producing methane gas from methane hydrate in the Pacific seabed off Aichi Prefecture.

The government-affiliated minerals explorer aims to launch commercial production as early as fiscal 2018, as Japan seeks to end its overdependency on overseas fuel shipments by developing a brand new energy source.

Methane hydrate, a sherbetlike substance consisting of methane gas trapped in ice below the seabed or permafrost, is viewed as a promising next-generation source of power. The project was commissioned by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The corporation will charter a deep sea exploration vessel from Sunday to carry equipment for the extraction of methane gas from methane hydrate in the seabed some 1.3 km off Aichi’s Atsumi Peninsula.

It plans to conduct the work for about two weeks in February and extract tens of thousands of cubic meters of gas a day.