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Japan first with offshore ‘ice’ gas, India close behind

March 13, 2013

Japan first with offshore ‘ice’ gas, India close behind

Following on from the publication of a draft Japanese Government plan for the commercialization of methane hydrate deposits 10 years from now, Japan Oil, Gas & Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) announced that it has produced gas in the world’s first offshore test to extract fuel from the frozen depths.

The experimental gas field is in the Nankai Trough, about 50 km off the coast of Honshu, Japan’s main island. JOGMEC estimates that the surrounding area holds at least 1.1 trillion cubic meters of methane hydrate, the equivalent of 11 years’ of Japanese natural gas imports.

According to Bloomberg, citing sources within India’s Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), a team including Oil & Natural Gas Corp ? the country’s biggest energy explorer ? will drill for methane hydrate deposits in the Bay of Bengal later this year. India’s preliminary estimate is that it has 1,894 trillion cubic meters of frozen gas reserves in its waters.

While Japan and India may be dreaming of potential energy independence, however, large-scale exploitation of the world’s methane hydrate deposits also raises some serious environmental concerns. The US Geological Survey said in a January 2013 report that carbon deposits in hydrates are double the size of all known oil, gas and coal reserves. “Hydrates store immense amounts of methane, with major implications for energy resources and climate, but the natural controls on hydrates and their impacts on the environment are poorly understood,” noted the report.

Read more at CleanBiz Asia.

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