Japan Starts Extraction of Oceanic Methane


Japanese explorer vessel Tikyu, which means Earth, started extraction of natural gas at Honshu shelf. Researchers aim to extract methane clathrate, one of natural gas forms stored under the ocean bed. Industrial extraction of methane clathrate would resolve the energetics issues the country has been facing since the quake in March 2011.

Methane clathrates are stored in the Arctic as well

Storages of methane clathrate at the shelf of the Japanese Archipelago and other sites have been well-known to the scientists for a long time. Experts assume that the reserves of natural gas stored as methane clathrate are truly enormous. However, up to nowadays the industrial extraction was considered economically feasible. Japanese scientists claim to have developed a new simple and inexpensive method of extraction.

Methane clathrate looks somewhat like thawed snow stored in the shelf ground. It is the most widespread of gas clathrates.
Exploration revealed at least one trillion cubic meters of methane clathrate near the city of Nagoya. If the test extraction succeeds, the industrial exploration is to start in 2018.

Phoro: Wikipedia.