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JOGMEC Achieves 1st Continuous Production Of Methane Hydrate

8 April 2008

Nikkei. The Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. (JOGMEC), an independent administrative agency charged with ensuring the country has a stable supply of natural resources, has achieved continuous production of methane hydrate.

Methane hydrate, also called methane clathrate, is a cage-like lattice of ice inside of which are trapped molecules of methane. If methane hydrate is either warmed or depressurized, it will revert back to water and natural gas. When brought to the earth’s surface, one cubic meter of gas hydrate releases 164 cubic meters of natural gas.

Hydrate deposits may be several hundred meters thick and generally occur in two types of settings: under Arctic permafrost, and beneath the ocean floor.

For six straight days, the JOGMEC was able to produce methane gas from methane hydrate deposits 1,100 meters below arctic permafrost in northwest Canada. The agency used its proprietary technology to obtain the gas efficiently by lowering the subsurface pressure when converting methane hydrate into water and gas.

The JOGMEC aims to use the data from the experiment in Canada to begin test production in the waters off Japan in 2009 or later, targeting eventual commercial production.

Japan’ Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry confirmed the existence of methane hydrate reserves estimated at 1.1 trillion cubic meters off the coast of Aichi and Mie prefectures, an amount 14 times larger than Japan’s annual natural gas consumption.

The world’s largest methane hydrate reserves are thought to be under the waters surrounding around Japan. Estimated at 7.4 trillion cubic meters, the reserves are equal to about 100 times the amount of natural gas consumed annually in the country.

April 8, 2008 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

Here's the answer to Peak Oil...just wait for Global warming to release all the methane under the permafrost.

Good news if you're concerned about peak NG. Not so good news if you're concerned about GHGs. If your concern is for local air quality then this is good news since, as a global resource, it would allow us to run vehicles from ANG for quite some time (cleaner than using gasoline). If you don't care about climate change, energy security or pollution, why are you here? In the grand scheme of things, I'd say that this item is too important for the side column.

I dont believe human caused climate change is real, we have no problems with pollution in the states but energy security I care about.. can I visit this site? thanks..

This is important, but how they do it is also. It must be very expensive to recover this from the ocean depths and they need to make sure that they so not rupture a section and cause an uncontrolled release.

I guess you could say that if they remove the methane from under the permafrost, we can use it before it melts and releases to the atmosphere on its own. I would rather slow global warming so that it does not. But since we have made little progress in that area and things could coast into a tipping point, that might be the next best thing to do.

Japanese cars have tended to be very fuel-efficient, and a major reason for this is the scarcity of fossil fuels in their home market. maybe if they become a natural gas giant they will stop caring about fuel efficiency? VW and GM need the competition that Toyota and Homda provide(d) in this area to motivate them to bring cutting-edge technology to market; a lack of competition in this area wouldn't be good for anybody.

I think not being wasteful in general is part of the Japanese culture and tradition. In the U.S. with its abundance and "manifest destiny" you see waste as a form of status.

SJC,

The Japanese made sure not to let one Korean or Chinese woman go to waste during World War 2.

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