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Methane Hydrate “To Make Japan Energy Superpower”

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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.

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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.”

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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:

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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.

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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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203 Comments

  • Instead of burning everything that can be burned just to power few households, how about making a machine, that is capable of generating energy from “nothing” (motion perhaps)? In theory it is absolutely possible and even easy.
    Or, we also have the Sun, which gives just as much power in a day as the whole world spends in one year.

    • They want it? They will pay HEAVILY for it. Or get kicked off for it.

      We can mine all our shit off of their shale oil though. Not a thing they can do since they need foreign investment. US doesn’t need that.

  • What they are not saying is that you can’t drill for this stuff. You actually have to mine it. To produce it commercially means essentially strip-mining the ocean floor. In the abyss that is not as environmentally catastrophic as you might think, but that is also going to be more expensive.

  • People should know that those Methane Hydrate are all over the world, almost all seas/oceans have methane hydrate.

    What Japan found is a way to actually extracting the stuffs efficiently which no one else has done it yet.

    • What they have found is a tech that’s actually been discovered long ago – just extracting it from the ocean floor. Other nations that are much will never publicize such critical information until the time is right.

      They haven’t found a way to economize it – that’s the whole point. Their tech is only past getting it out of the ground, not doing it economically. They admitted they need to do further research to make it possible in the future.

      This is essentially a political propaganda piece for the Abe government. Gullible japanese are eating it up like pigs lapping up slops off the ground desperate for any bit of good news.

  • This announcement seems more like a call for stockholders and an appeal to world banks to extend Japans credit base.

    The story itself isn’t really big news. No less than 5 other nations have floating super refineries currently under construction to capitalize on this technology.

    That methane C is found in Gulf of Mexico, the leeward side of Australia, near Canada and the
    Soviet Union (pretty much anywhere there is deep water protected from the ocean’s deep flow current.

    As for renewal, true statement, it does self renew, but at a much lower rate than it will be exploited (we are talking decades not months), and there is a critical minimum required for “extraction” (similar problems with shale extraction).

    • This.

      Japs are stupid enough to think other nations haven’t already developed this tech. Why the hell else would they build those refineries if they cannot already extract such plentiful resources near their coast? It’s all politics and international energy maneuvering.

      ‘first’ lol

  • Japan sits on a rickety fault-line with a steady history of volcanic activity, and there is surprise that the gas pockets could renew themselves?

    I’m happy for Japan. That island country has been in need of some good news for a while now. A booming energy industry could be just the thing to raise their young work population out of their current recession.

    • Their recession is self-inflicted. Asian-level cronyism and corruption that has no parallel elsewhere in the degree of its laughable pathetic antics, young generation too cowed and spineless to have the drive to succeed, and export-oriented economy that depended on the world being too busy to compete.

      No amount of overpriced gas sitting on those fault lines will change these things – it’s not something you fix by throwing money at them. Japan is finished and will be eclipsed by its 2nd rate neighbors into being a 3rd rate nation at the mercy of the world.

  • Natural Gas, more alternative to Nuclear Energy, but not relatively cheap yet, unless some countries tried to obtain that energy from the Sea of Japan, especially the bullied countries.

    since this is natural gas, i don’t know if this is effective on automobiles that has already shift to fuel cell and some are using diesel engine.

  • Anyone find it funny that Artefact uses non-politically neutral language when referring to disputed territories claimed by Japan?

    Or is he one of those people that actually believes in EVERY one of Japan’s territorial claims? lol

  • The US is already one of the top natural gas exporters and we still have oil problems. Japan is an abyssmal 50th in world natural gas production. They’re just trying to catch up from the third world. Japanese have to use electric (or worse charcoal LOL) kotatsu just to stay warm in the winter, because their electric heated apartments are so cold.

    The US has so much natural gas that we use it instead of electricity because it’s cheaper. Gas stoves, gas central heating (even in sunny socal where it doesn’t even snow), and gas powered air conditioners even.

  • Kinda sounds like the brazilian pre-salt oil reserves… well, a little bit better, but still.
    It’s been found, and it shure holds some sort of potential… but for now, it’s expensive to get, not viable to the market (as there’s still plenty of easy to get oil out there), and there’s tons of speculation surrounding it.
    Still, I think the hype must’ve done some good for brazillian economy (which is understandable since the whole international market is largely speculative), so maybe this will do good for Japan too.

  • This seems a bit over-optimistic to me. From what I’ve heard, mining methane hydrate is not exactly easy and/or cheap, because that stuff is pretty dangerous.

    Therefore it might indeed help Japan to become less dependant on energy imports, but I don’t see anyone else buying their gas as long as there’s cheaper alternatives from Russia etc. And other than oil, it doesn’t look like natural gas reserves will run out anytime soon.

    • What all these reports are not paying attention to is the fact that they still need to figure out if this is going to be economically viable, and if they need to make it viable, how long it will take for the tech to be innovated to make that happen.

      This is a cheap political ploy by their new PM to score political points with gullible public like these japanese net-right. Like little pigs they are lapping up all the slops.

      Even if the minuscule amount of resources were viable tomorrow, global powers and other near by nations will ensure japan will never profit from them.

      Cold war is over. Japan’s days of economic prosperity at the expense of others by the virtue of no one paying attention is over. History will remember that japanese were good at being successful when their opponents were not paying attention, but easily destroyed like a paper tiger when they are faced with even a modicum of real opposition.

  • That is great news provided it doesn’t destabilize.
    They have been theorizing that the ice disturbed enough to start releasing gas can cause enough turmoil with the bubbles to sink ships..that was the last theory i’d heard for ships disappearing in Bermuda.

    • a) Japan doesn’t have the user base to support mega budget titles
      b) Consoles in Japan are DEAD. Handhelds are where Japanese developers are seeing higher sales numbers & hardware manufactures (Sony/Nintendo) are seeing continued growth.
      c) xbox may eventually be the ONLY console left, assuming Nintendo & Sony do not start creating consoles exclusively for the foreign market.
      d) Valve’s Steambox will become the true bridge between console & PC, thanks to Japan refusing to accept a hybrid system like xbox1 was originally marketed as. (see Project X)
      e) Western developers are more willing to take risks, meaning they are constantly creating more original titles than their Japanese equivalents.

      bonus:
      Japan is too focused on the belief that Tokyo is the center of Japan and any business not in Japan is ‘uncool’. This mentality robs a large portion of a titles budget to cover expenses, like high building costs & lighting.

      So even in the case of a mega budget title, a large portion of that is waste not on the game itself. Japan should learn to be more like Epic. Move to locations in the country side & reap the benefits, like tax breaks & employee living quarters. Say no to sleeping under a smokey cubicle, instant ramen & high expenses. Healthy employees & cost reductions are the key to a successful future. Too bad Japan is too stupid to acknowledge this.

    • You are living in the 80s.

      Japan doesn’t make any good games anymore – they have names of those companies but most of the real work is done overseas. Not to mention most games these days that make real money are non-japanese.

  • Methane hydrate is extremely combustible. Japan’s going to start booming like China if something goes wrong, which is more than likely.

    Or research fraud kicks in first, one of the two.

    • China’s explosion are because of stupidity and cheapness (even COINS explode). Japan, on the other hand, will be shaken by a earthquake, then a tsunami, a typhoon and debris falling everywhere, and then it will explode.

      • Yes, but the scale are different. Previously, the aftermath of Japanese shortsightedness caused some areas to be poisoned for centuries to come…
        This time, the expected small explosions caused by the drilling probably will trigger larger earth quakes/sea quakes, and cause the island to either partially sink or get hit by tsunami. Just wait, it will happen soon enough.

  • It is worth mentioning that methane is not at all in the same situation as oil. There isn’t really much of an issue of supply meeting demand; in fact the US has its own glut of the stuff. I don’t think they’re going to invade to get more anytime soon.

        • 05:38 We are paying good money for ‘draining’ anyone’s resources. Tens of hundreds of billions of dollars have been paid out to those nations for their precious oil.

          It’s hillarious to see people bitching about how America ‘steals’ or ‘drains’ oil when they don’t even know how much we are paying for the sometimes above market price in exchange for goods. It’s called fair trade bitches. Only reason we get more is that we have more to offer them in terms of political assitance as well as the knowledge of them knowing if we are their valued customers we will watch their backs.

          Who else will offer such guarantee? Who else has more to offer? No one. Hence, we get first pick of the oil and pay for them handsomely.

          Now, how they spend all that oil money is their problem. Don’t blame us if your rich are hoarding all the profit in their little bank accounts instead of developing your own country because they are scared of giving people a little power. America will deal relatively fairly with anyone – if you want a nation that can be both prosperous and benefiting the people, make it happen on your own. Afterall, as world keeps bleeting, it’s an ‘internal affair’.

          These bitches always squeal and moan for America to take care of their problems. At least America made sure Saddam and his ilk were raped and wiped off the face of the planet.

    • C’mon, try a little harder with the joke.

      There are elements of Pro-Hirohito groups that want to attack Pearl Harbor again. That’s why the US is going to attack (from their multiple military bases on Japanese soil).

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

    i saw a spanish reporter the other day saying that such thoughts were part of what
    carried Spain to it’s current state. so really intelligent thoughts as always. i don’t need no one to tell me such thoughts are way foolish.

  • 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…

  • Expect massive paranoia from manganaka and writers now.
    why do I say this?

    how many science horror stories begin with “Japan corners market in fuel export/ resource / material / energy” before it ends with ” and Japan’s population was reduced to only a few thousand”

    Here’s a freebie.
    Bio Meat. Figure out the rest, or watch the rest. It’s a good way to spend the day.

    • Those manga always laughably try to portray japan as the ‘victim’. Remember Code Geass?

      Why won’t they run a REAL story about that one korean Park Yeol and Fumiko Kaneko, korean resistance fighter and his japanese girlfriend who fought against the actual real japanese oppression and despised the japanese all the while getting fucked by her korean boyfriend?

      Not that any japs have the balls for that.

  • Well, this might help Japan to finally get rid of its decade long depression-ish state…

    And guys seriously, nobody uses armies for this anymore… You take a lobbyist, they pay some politicians and boom! …You have rights for those deposits, and by “you” I mean Shell or Exxon most likely.

    • This won’t help them. The very fragile nature of where japan is located alone will make the prices go up and it will be very unprofitable compared to other nations’ stocks.

      The amount of propaganda and self-comforting tone of the news articles makes it almost certain that this is a political game by Shinzo Abe to make it seem like he’s doing something when in fact no other nations are so stupid as to loudly announce how they are going to be a target for the wolves around itself already snarling with lust at how it would be fun to fuck over japan.

      The price for this little political score-whoring by Abe will be further erosion of japanese influence in the region. Japan no longer has any comparable ability to even stand up against those pressuring its economy and politics.

      Why? Because the entire reason japanese managed to get their economy up and running better than others is because for the better part of that century, rest of the world was mired in cold war security challenges that drew away the attention from pure economics. They ‘succeeded’ because everyone else was fighting with a hand and a leg tied behind its back, while looking at the opposite direction. Of course, dumb cunt japs like to think they actually won anything for stabbing a sleeping enemy.

      Now that world’s attention has turned, japan will be at the mercy of fully energized economies of the world. Korea and China are already out competing and out smarting the japanese in various fields. US is putting a lot of political pressure on the japanese to rid itself of protectionist tendencies, all the while re-energizing its economic sector. There’s a reason why some japs hated Apple so much – it was a slap in the face to their delusions about ‘innovation’ and ‘best in electronics’ that a guy who built his shit in a garage can outsmart them globally and take the mantle of most successful electronics company.

  • Why do all these stupid japs sound like they think methane hydrate only exists around japan, or than majority of them are around their EEZ?

    That shit is all over the world and ones around japan minuscule. Not to mention the cost of extraction/refining these resources are much greater than conventional resources, hence limiting their utility.

    Worst of all, a single seismic event would send their prices through the roof, while other nations can more easily extract and sell at a lower price, hence destroying any profitability of japanese resources and making their own gas-based power plant bills go through the roof. They cannot isolate their own resources for the fear of being kicked out from the world economy.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

        • 15:14

          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.

        • 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.

        • 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.

        • 12:55

          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.

        • 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.

        • 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.

    • 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.

      • “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.

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

      LOL the delusions of japs.

      US and other nations have prospected and measured deposits all along the world’s oceans decades ago while doing ‘scientific explorations’ for cold war purposes. They already know and have the tech to recover those methane hydrate from the ocean floor, but know better than to broadcast that shit all over the place and make themselves a target and upset their position in the world stage. The deposits around japan are nothing compared to the amount sitting dormant along the American coast, south american shores, and in the coast along africa or the arctic. These hard-to-get resources will be expensive and uneconomical. Energy and geopolitics is closely linked, and japs just gave another reason for china to pick on them.

      But no, japs need to buttress their fragile little pride and bitch about ‘superior technology’ whenever they get the slimmest chance, even though the fact that this shit lies at the bottom of the fuckin ocean floor makes it much more cost intensive to produce in the first place than land-based resources. Japan’s like that one player in poker that can’t hold its mouth or expression when he barely gets a three of a kind because he was never good enough to play in the first place.

      Having a few deposits don’t make one an ‘energy superpower’. These japs clearly have no sense of what it means to be a power on the international stage. I highly doubt even America would think it’s worth to invade japan over such meager amounts of gas.

      Dumb amateurs and pathetic.

    • That’s actually not a bad move. Better to preserve our resources while buying it cheaply from elsewhere, than corner the market in the future with our resources. Unlike small nations, America can still monopolize and essentially nationalize the critical resource like that without the international pressure thanks to being a superpower.

      Why do you think world powers are so keen to buy resources from outside their borders when they have some of their own? They want to deplete other’s just as much as possible while conserving their own, even if it means paying for them. All that oil money is than squandered by buying American weapons in deals with defense contractors, which means money we sent them comes back to us plus interest. They are only too happy to squander their hard-earned money on shiny new weapons, and we are happy to get out money back.

    • Go take a bath kid, you reek of weeaboo.

      And really, this “miracle” energy is in such low quantity that it doesn’t matter in the large or small picture.

      It’s just Jap politicians jerking off to delusions to win some re-election points.

      • Sadly there is a lot of weeaboos on this site who sucks Japanese cock at every oppurtunity. Probably cuts himself everyday when Japan gets critisized like Twilight fans.

        Face it weeaboo trash. No matter how much you kiss Japanese ass, YOU ARE HATED by the Japanese because you are weeaboo trash.

    • They can’t keep it for themselves. It’s called ‘protectionism’ and any nation as small and export-oriented as japan cannot afford to be branded as such since that would ostracize them from the world economy and essentially collapse the basis for their economic health.

      Therefore, they have no choice but to bow their heads and be subject to international pricing for market in natural gas that would undoubtedly destroy any chances for japan to reap any benefit from the resources. Korea and China now have even more reason to go to open conflict against the japanese, and if America sees little benefit in reinforcing this ungrateful bitchy little island nation that fancies itself a ‘1st world country’, than japan’s fresh out of big brothers to watch its back.

      Expect korea and china to jump at this opportunity like sharks to blood in the water. Japan’s making itself an even more appealing target now.