In a First, Japan Turns 'Fire Ice' Into Natural Gas
Underwater methane hydrates could be a huge energy find
By Mark Russell, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2013 3:27 PM CDT
Japan has announced it successfully mined methane hydrate for the first time. Methane hydrate is known as burnable ice, a solid form of methane.   (satou42)

(Newser) – The quest to mine frozen methane has taken a big step forward—Japanese officials say their researchers have, for the first time anywhere, extracted gas from an underwater deposit of methane hydrate, reports the BBC. (Methane hydrates are also known as "fire ice," notes the Washington Post.) Production tests are expected to continue for two weeks on the field by the state-owned Japan Oil, Gas, and Metals National Corporation.

"It is the world's first offshore experiment producing gas from methane hydrate," says one government official. Japan currently imports almost all its oil and gas. If it can make it commercially viable to get natural gas from fire ice, that "could have huge implications for both energy and climate change," writes the Post's Brad Plumer. We're still probably five years away from that possibility, however.

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Showing 3 of 24 comments
Mar 12, 2013 11:03 PM CDT
"...the bad news is your heating bill will still be outrageous, plus all your houses will smell like burnt fart."
Mar 12, 2013 5:14 PM CDT
Of course the mainstream U.S. press doesn't talk about it much, but the world's hydrogen problems have a ready solution. Frozen ice crystals found off the shores of Canada, Japan, Russia, Iceland and other nations with Northern shores contain vast quantities of clean, frozen hydrogen -- enough to power the entire world far 5000 years beyond the limits of petroleum reserves. The U.S. press doesn't talk much about gas hydrates, preferring to focus on hydrogen derived from either natural gas or petroleum (resources the U.S. tends to own or control).I wonder why??
Mar 12, 2013 4:30 PM CDT
That's nothing, you should see what my hubby can turn into natural gas.