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Methane hydrates – bigger than shale gas, “game over” for the environment?

20th of March, 2013

Scientific American By Melissa C. Lott | March 19, 2013Methane hydrate deposits could hold up to 15 times the amount of gas as the world’s shale deposits. At the same time, they represent more carbon than all of the world’s fossil fuels combined. So, it’s no wonder that the response to recent announcements by the Japanese has been a bit mixed.

Methane hydrates (a.k.a. methane clathrates or fire ice) are solid compounds where methane is literally trapped in water. The substance looks like ice and can be found deep on the ocean floor, locked under layers of sediments.

Last Tuesday, Japan announced that researchers have successfully produced natural gas from offshore methane hydrates in the the Eastern Nankai Trough. In the words of energy analyst Jesse Jenkins, this success could have explosive implications. In his article, posted Friday on The Energy Collective, Jenkins explains his views on the impact of unlocking this resource, stating that:

“Of course, just as with shale gas, not all of this potential energy resource will prove technically recoverable. Yet if (or should we say when?) technology to commercially extract gas from hydrates is developed, the implications for global energy markets are staggering nonetheless.”

Below if a portion of his piece, which was originally published on Friday on The Energy Collective. In it, Jenkins presents the big economic and environmental considerations that have come to the forefront of the methane hydrates discussion. READ MORE HERE.

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