Japanese bodies set to extract gas from seabed reserves in pioneer experiment
Two government entities are set to tap into seabed reserves of methane hydrate and extract gas in an experimental project as early as the beginning of next week, marking the first such attempt in the world.
The Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. (JOGMEC) and National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) will attempt to extract the gas in deep waters off the Atsumi Peninsula in Aichi Prefecture.
Methane hydrate, looked to as a next-generation source of natural gas, is a sherbet-like substance formed when methane gas from decayed animal and plant matter combines with water under high pressure and low temperatures. It is known to exist in the permafrost layers of locations such as Siberia, and under the seabed.
The Japanese government hopes the compound will provide a steady supply of energy, reducing the nation's dependence on imports, though commercialization is not expected before fiscal 2023.
The entities will attempt to extract the gas from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology's exploration ship Chikyu over the course of two weeks. The process involves lowering a metal pipe into the seabed around 1,300 meters below sea level, and reducing pressure to break the methane hydrate down into water and methane gas. They expect to gather anywhere from several thousand to tens of thousands of cubic meters of methane gas per day.
The government will subsequently examine the quality of the gas and evaluate the cost-efficiency of the extraction. It hopes to settle on an extraction method by fiscal 2018.
March 09, 2013(Mainichi Japan)