Japan Plans Viable Methane Hydrate Exploration By 2018
Japan hopes to develop commercially viable technology for exploiting seabed methane hydrate, viewed as a next-generation energy source, by fiscal 2018, according to a draft new basic ocean policy plan made available Wednesday.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government wants to formalize the plan next month, believing tapping marine resources should be a pillar of the country’s growth strategy, a government source said.
Methane hydrate, an icelike substance consisting of methane gas trapped in ice below the seabed, is believed to exist around Japan, with deposits estimated to be sufficient to cover domestic consumption of natural gas for about 100 years.
The draft plan would have the private sector start commercializing methane hydrate development between 2023 and 2029, and the government would also study the extent of rare earth reserves within around three years.
The government will help Japanese firms take part in large-scale projects in the marine industry, especially drilling for oil and natural gas, to ensure the ventures are internationally competitive.