Methane hydrate stores promising


A one-week trial by the government has yielded more than 13,000 cu. meters of natural gas extracted from a next-generation energy source called methane hydrate in the Pacific seabed off Japan, sources said Tuesday.

The amount topped the yield from a 2008 onshore test in Canada that involved the Japanese and Canadian governments and extracted a stream of about 13,000 cu. meters of natural gas in a six-day period.

Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp., which conducted the world’s first offshore trial about 80 km south of the Atsumi Peninsula of Aichi Prefecture, is still checking the total amount, the sources said.

Methane hydrate, known as “burning ice,” consists of methane gas and water.

On Monday, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry announced it ended the trial about a week earlier than initially scheduled due to problems in pumping equipment and bad weather.

Industry minister Toshimitsu Motegi said, however, the trial showed “enough results” in a week and succeeded in gathering data.