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Canada drops out of race to tap methane hydrates

26th of May, 2013

By Santiago Ortega Arango, CBC News
Posted: May 7, 2013 5:42 AM ET

Canada is abandoning a 15-year program that was researching ways to tap a potentially revolutionary energy source, just as Japan is starting to use the results to exploit the new fossil-fuel frontier: methane hydrates.

Methane hydrates are crystals full of methane gas found both offshore and under the permafrost. Low temperatures and high pressure cause methane and water to crystallize into ice-like deposits.

They represent an unexploited source of energy estimated to be larger than all the world's known coal, oil and gas reserves combined.

Methane is considered to be cleaner than other fossil fuels, and if methane is used instead of oil and coal, significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions could be achieved.

Producing gas from hydrates could also avoid the water pollution issues connected with the extraction of shale gas through "fracking" techniques. The environmental impact of methane production has yet to be completely assessed, but researchers say they expect the issues would be comparable to those of offshore conventional natural gas production. READ MORE HERE.

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