Produção The Japan Times 19 março 2013

Seabed gas extraction first of its kind: METI

New method could unlock vast stores of methane


In a reported world first, Japan extracted natural gas from methane hydrate, considered a next-generation energy source, in the Pacific seabed off Aichi Prefecture, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.


“We started production of a certain amount of methane gas from around 9:30 a.m.,” a ministry official said, noting that if the gas can be extracted without any problems for about two weeks in the ongoing trial, it will be a “major step” toward future commercial development of the resource.


Large concentrations of methane hydrate are believed to exist under the seabed around Japan. Last October, a research team from Meiji University discovered the substance under the seabed in the Sea of Okhotsk and in the Sea of Japan off Akita, Yamagata and Niigata prefectures. There is also a high possibility that it also exists under the seabed off Shimane Prefecture.


Total deposits of methane hydrate around Japan are estimated to be sufficient to cover domestic consumption of natural gas for about 100 years.


In the trial production conducted about 80 km south of the Atsumi Peninsula, Aichi Prefecture, on Tuesday, methane hydrate located about 1.3 km below the ocean surface was dissolved into gas and water and the gas was collected through a well.


Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. (Jogmec) and the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology used a method to decrease pressure of layers bearing methane hydrate to dissociate the solid substance.



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