Methane Hydrate “To Make Japan Energy Superpower”


Japan’s recent success in extracting methane hydrate is now expected to make Japan a gas export powerhouse, as there is estimated to be enough of the stuff around Japan to last a century or more.


Methane hydrate (or methane clathrate) is a solid deposit of methane gas found in large quantities on the ocean floor, and with extraction and processing yields natural gas, commonly used as fuel.

Japan recently announced the first ever success in extracting methane hydrates from the ocean floor, and expects commercial production in its waters to begin “within 5 years.”


These reserves are estimated by the government to be big enough to supply Japan’s gas needs “for 100 years” (assuming of course that they do not export it all well before then, and that gas will be of any use to anyone in a century).

Experts also mention another unusual property of the deposits – some are thought to be renewable:

“The deposits in the Sea of Japan are called surface deposits, and are deposits on the seabed which are actually exposed.

On the Pacific side, once we extract the deposits they will be exhausted, but in the case of surface deposits they form pillars which are constantly being deposited and then melting away.

So, as long the Earth remains active, they will continue to be created – so the amount produced in these deposits will exceed the 100 year deposits.”

Vast reserves and renewable stocks could are thought likely to not only make Japan self-sufficient in its energy needs, but also make it into a huge net exporter of gas, ending its dependence on energy imports and potentially allowing it to pay down its enormous national debt.

Best of all – from Japan’s perspective at least – most of the major deposits so far identified lie on Japan’s Pacific coast, well away from even the most extravagant Chinese and Korean claims, and well within Japan’s EEZ:


However, there are also suspected to be large deposits lying undiscovered in such inconvenient areas as the Senkaku islands, the Northern Territories, and Takeshima, so there is still ample scope for territorial squabbles.


The huge implications of methane hydrates to Japan have been exciting massive interest recently – but also some misgivings:

“Infinite reserves you say!?”

“Expect us to get invaded soon.”

“Just wait for the research fraud to be uncovered.”

“The renewable reserves do sound too good to be true. Still, resources are resources!”

“China and Russia are going to be all over us if we do start exporting this stuff.”

“Can you actually use this stuff in a car?”

“Between Russia’s natural gas and the USA’s shale gas I don’t see this ending well for Japan.”

“Some of this stuff sounds like the kind of propaganda you’d hear in North Korea. There is bound to be a limit to this stuff.”

“It’s gas so it is not a replacement for oil like these idiots seem to think.”

“I guess we can at least get rid of those nuclear plants now though.”

“Japan having the best tech in the world and being a next generation energy superpower – isn’t this against the rules?”

“This all feels like a repeat of the bubble dreams…”

“We don’t need to work any more! We can just buy stuff from overseas and live like kings…”

“If vast amounts of new deposits are exploitable, the price is bound to collapse. Imagine what this is going to do to the middle east… from nouveau rich to NEET.”

“Other nations have barely prospected for this stuff. What if they all have it?”

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    Comment by Anonymous
    07:54 21/03/2013 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    It begins...

    Area Eleven....


    Avatar of Kinny Riddle
    Comment by Kinny Riddle
    18:15 21/03/2013 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    In time methane hydrate would be nicknamed "Sakuradite".

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:36 22/03/2013 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Watch again Code geass R2 Episode 7.
    At the end of episode submarine fires torpedoes at underwater methane hydrate gas mine, which causes explosion and destroys Britannian navy.

    So this is not "Sakuradite"!

    Avatar of Bakamoichigei
    Comment by Bakamoichigei
    07:05 22/03/2013 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Actually the methane hydrate drastically lowers the density of the water, and the ships can't maintain buoyancy.

    I haven't watched Geass since it aired, but that's how it works in the real world.

    Avatar of Bakamoichigei
    Comment by Bakamoichigei
    09:09 23/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hehe. Insert "Yeah, SCIENCE!" meme here.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:45 23/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Actually, it happened in the anime like you said, there was no explosion @_@

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:03 22/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    just wondering is methane gas is bad for you?

    Avatar of Koyoto_Shadow
    Comment by Koyoto_Shadow
    04:05 22/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Mammals produce methane gas naturally from the bacteria that live in your colon. Them's what farts are made of, a waste product of methane building up and being expelled. Methane is also produced by the decay of organic material. They actually have facilities that harvest the stuff from landfills for that reason. It's harmful in the same sense that natural gas or propane is. It's flammable, it's not great to breathe it in (as you well know), but not some great hazard.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:25 22/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Pure natural gas is actually odorless. They added the rotten egg smell to make people aware of it and be more careful around it. They also put a bitter additive in antifreeze now so pets and humans alike stop chugging it.

    Avatar of thorus
    Comment by thorus
    02:15 22/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    yes, kind of. methane hydrate is very instable and obtaining it not carefully enough can lead to a chain reaction where giant amounts of methane gas to the surface in a huge bubble.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:49 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    I never got it why they have to burn that stuff in the oil drills and in this.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:55 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    It's funny, I was just thinking that myself.

    Avatar of Hayate
    Comment by Hayate
    20:56 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    just a matter of time before they start invading Japan for the precious source of sakuradite

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:23 21/03/2013 # ! Drivel (-0.7)

    Nope, world won't be so merciful as to leave japanese alive. All that would be heard is the screaming and squealing of their women who will be busy being fucked to pieces by foreigners and other asians while their eviscerated husband's body lays by the sidewalk.

    World won't even give them a chance to sulk and bitch about their defeat this time.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:26 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Do you work out of the home? not dissing you just curious how you find so much time to troll, I mean I troll too, but I can't be at it 24/7, I got other shit to do.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:00 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Umm actually Lelouch used Methane Hydrate to sink a whole naval that was persuing the Black Knight Order in season 2 (fired torpedo to the sea bed)

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:35 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yeah, their have always been a few like that, but it didn't really blow up till after the sea shepherd story,it increased a good bit after that.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:42 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Wow didn't know I could view all your posts with a click,or be able to see the ip address like that, that's derpy on my part, have "fun".

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:30 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    First time in a few days, actually. The only way you would think that is because there may be more people who can think in this way from time to time on Sankaku.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:59 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    moderators? there are no moderators here.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:52 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    LOL @ moderators going around checking people's ip as if that's supposed to tell him something.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:12 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)


    lol yea have 'fun' with that info too.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:13 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    12:59 LOL so obvious. Go have 'fun'. :)

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:59 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    yes "facts" i like the cut of your jib sir.

    Comment by Anonymous

    Who said anything about 'trolling'? These are facts!

    LOL japs.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:17 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Sound like what happened to Chinese...

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:46 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Oh you mean like the chinese? lol

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:16 21/03/2013 # ! Good (+0.7)

    Meh, I think I'm just gonna sit here and await the next major bio-catastrophy (I think I can already see it looming over the horizon).

    Avatar of Miroku74
    Comment by Miroku74
    08:20 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Watch China start trying to catch up to Japan soon after. Thereafter their offshore deposits will explode, spreading further and further.

    Ring of Fire, indeed.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:22 21/03/2013 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Offshore deposits "exploding" will probably be quite literal in china's case.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:14 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Since it doesn't really fit into the standard "fossil fuels" energy OPEC will try to control the prices but has less power. If they can use this fuel for 100% of their own power needs (aka no gas importing at all) then they well could use it much cheaper than OPEC prices. Maybe.

    The other good thing about this is if it is carbon neutral or not. If it is built up from carbon waste falling from above then it would be carbon neutral. That is effectively no (well very limited) increase to global CO2 levels from using this fuel.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:23 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)


    They don't need OPEC to peg prices to certain international level. That's a gross simplification, and naive way of looking at global energy market. In order for them to have any legitimacy, they must peg the gas prices to world average or suffer the consequences of protectionism by the principle of international global economy.

    They won't see a single dime of this if it actually was realized - their neighbors will force it upon them to take it all away.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:32 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    I for one would like to know how the hell this expensive, time-consuming miniscule amount of exaggerated gas under water is supposed to compete with shale natural gas of US and much easier, much more plentiful sources around the world.

    If they try to nationalize this shit, their export economy is going down the toilet.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:55 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    1. A large amount of homes and industries run on natural gas. They won't need to import it anymore.

    2. It is worth a fair amount of money, and thus they can sell it. It's not meant to compete with the oil industry, it will only compete with the methane industry, which having such an easy source of it gives you lowest bid power, offering the best price and thus taking sales away from other countries.

    And to he anon that said having so much will turn it into a commodity that makes it no longer worth much... That argument makes no sense. Japan is the one controlling their production of it. It's not suddenly all going to come out of the sea at once. They merely supply what demand there is for it.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:07 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)


    I don't think you even know how such energy resource commodities work, or how globalized economics function today. You sound like you have little knowledge of money and economics beyond personal finances.

    1. Japan's supposed gas sources are perilously close to fault lines in one of if not the most earthquake prone regions on earth. This increases the opportunity cost of the gas produced there since the risk is higher than other regions.

    2. No matter what japan produces on its own, other people are also producing them, and global prices for natural gas is set by global market trends, not japanese decisions. This is why even when US is exporting oil its oil prices at the pumps can rise higher - prices for global supply of resources are set to global demands and supply. Therefore, since japan isn't exactly going to corner the methane hydrate gas market with their minuscule reserves, they cannot control any of the prices they sell their stuff at - if they attempt to be protectionist, there will be direct consequences to their export model of economy by punishment of overseas market governments.

    3. The day when a nation produces their resources to call it entire their own is a dangerous illusion these days. All are tied to the global market, and therefore the pipe dream of 'our gas, we get to power ourselves' is a dangerously naive way of thinking about things. It's the same mentality that thinks when you put your money in the bank that money sits in the deposit box somewhere, instead of being circulated around and is only 'yours' by the virtue of promissory contract that you get back similar amount when you make the request.

    Therefore, if the japanese can't control the market prices, then they will be helpless when other nations over produce, glut the market, and leave the more expensive japanese gas (thanks to terrain) in the dust, in which case the government of japan will not buy the gas from the companies but import them from overseas.

    If your rebuttal to this is "but it's their company, why won't they buy their own stuff?", you are dangerously naive and misinformed about how governments work. You are the same kind of person who confuses how national bond and finances work with personal finances.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:25 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Now someone tell me when this is supposed to become economically feasible, and what exactly is the recoverable gas amount?

    Their overly optimistic propaganda does not really impress me since it's simple enough to fool only uninformed japs like those on 2ch.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:44 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    @anon 08:32

    If they try to nationalize fart gas, they deserve to have their export economy go down the toilet.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:23 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I seriously sense some gross over optimism about becoming 'energy power'. The deposits around japan aren't much, there are much more plentiful reserves that haven't been publically revealed yet because nations like to keep such advantages quiet until they can make great profit off of them. I would not expect the japanese to know of such basic subtlties in international politics.

    If anything, japan will be out of the resources in 30 years with little profit, or rest of the world will begin to drill their own within a few years which would destroy the market price by flooding the market with over supply of gas, and thus destroying japanese profit margins which will already be too high thanks to the danger cost of being close to such quake-prone location.

    They really are just desperate for any little bit of good news. I bet shinzo abe is blowing this 'success' out of proportion so he can score some political points from gullible net-uyo bitches like these japanese posters.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:02 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    "These modern estimates are notably smaller than the 10,000 to 11,000 Gt C (2×1016 m³) proposed[24] by previous workers a reason to consider clathrates to be a geo-organic fuel resource (MacDonald 1990, Kvenvolden 1998). Lower abundances of clathrates do not rule out their economic potential, but a lower total volume and apparently low concentration at most sites[19] does suggest that only a limited percentage of clathrates deposits may provide an economically viable resource."

    Just a little bit of how limited this so-called energy source is.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:42 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Ok just to make things clear about any misunderstandings this fuel is not infinite. And fucking around with it can cause DISASTROUS affects. If they cause a spill and leak huge amounts of methane hydrate into the atmosphere the planet would experience adverse weather the likes of which we've never seen and nothing short of an armageddon (for us humans and animals at least). Not to mention this stuff is laying right on the fucking continental shelf. One wrong move or too much drilling could set off a massive tsunami and cause major earthquakes.
    Spilling this stuff into the atmostphere would make the BP spill and it's after affects look like childs play. Lets just hope the japans don't fuck around and get us all killed.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:44 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    You read way too much hippie propaganda. We simply don't have the capability to cause any of that, even if we wanted to. Also, if a puny human drill could cause massive methane outbursts, then this would have already naturally happened in an earthquake somewhere in the last few million years.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:23 22/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Read "The Swarm" by Hohlbein and change your text, please :)

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:16 22/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    A fictional novel? Really? Maybe you need to read a few books on critical thinking instead.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:37 23/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Fictional as in scientifically proven? Check.

    Quoting wiki:
    "It was lauded by many critics and readers for its accurate representation of marine biology, geology, and geophysics."
    Read as: Methan clathrates sit on coasts around the world and -when destabilized- are prone to affect the continental slopes, resulting in highly-likely collapses, devastating a large area with tsunamis.

    By the way, this has happened to the northern coast of europe before (quoting again):
    "The Storegga Slides were a series of underwater landslides, in which a piece of the Norwegian continental shelf slid into the Norwegian Sea. The immense landslips occurred between 8150 BC and 6000 BC, and caused a tsunami up to 20 metres (66 ft) high that swept through the North Sea,(...)"

    Some things better left untouched...

    PS: Written by Frank Schätzing, not Hohlbein.
    My bad.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:24 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)


    Comment by Anonymous
    13:01 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well Interesting renewable gas reserve
    Well at least they have a new export :)
    Kill that epic long depression hope it doesn't kill anime too

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:26 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    They still haven't gotten out of their trade deficit for 8 months now. For an export-oriented nation, this is a very, very, very bad news.

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:37 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    "Sinking of Japan"


    "Gas boat awakens Godzilla from seabed" :D

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:36 21/03/2013 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Ehm I dont think its wise to drill into the sea bottom near Japan with all those whats it called... earthquake zones?

    Imagine if another earthquake happens while all those platforms are drilling for gas? Like that Ice age squirrel causing the cracks in the ground but then with Japan?

    Sigh I dont see this end well...

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:39 22/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Pretty much. This has been a major discussion on various sites. If Japan fucks up with this, ALL of us will be affected in some way.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:46 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Reminds me of "Sinking of Japan" movie

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:38 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yeah they are already predicting another one too that will be even worse.

    Avatar of cpc65
    Comment by cpc65
    07:43 21/03/2013 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Was about to click the link until I saw "foxnews" in the URL and was able to restrain my clicking finger just in time. Damn, that was a close call!

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:01 21/03/2013 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Wise decision young man, that little bit of restrain on the fingertip just saved you from being a retard.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:33 21/03/2013 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Don't be ridiculous, anon, humour has never made anyone retarded.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:32 23/03/2013 # ! Neutral (0)

    LOL.... YUP



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