The Chinese authorities announced a “historic breakthrough” in the production of hydrocarbons

Photo: Neal Ulevich / AP

Chinese experts have established full production of gas hydrates with the underwater marine deposits. In an official statement called the incident “a historic breakthrough” that will affect the development of the entire energy

The experiment for the extraction of gas hydrates from the field at the bottom of the South China sea ended in “a complete success”, according to Geological service of the Ministry of land and resources of China.

Development of the field of the so-called “combustible ice” (apparently gas hydrates resemble snow or loose ice) began on may 10 and to date has successfully continued for eight days. During this time, with deposits located at a depth of over 1200 meters from the sea surface and about 200 metres from the bottom surface received more than 120 thousand cubic meters of gas with a methane content of up to 99.5%.

In the message of the Geological survey the success of the experiment called a historic breakthrough, achieved “under the strong leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist party of China.” It is emphasized that the experiment was the first successful example of industrial marine mining of gas hydrates, has been made based solely on their own strength and would have “far reaching consequences”.

The message of China Central television (CCTV) it is noted that in other countries, attempts to establish an uninterrupted production of gas hydrates from the sea floor for various reasons have not led to success, which proves the achievement of Chinese experts “world-class”.

“The first successful demonstration means that the development of deposits of “combustible ice” has entered a new phase of development and could change the situation in the global industry of energy production”, – underlined in the message TCA.

The waters of the South China sea, which started production of hydrates, is subject to territorial disputes between several countries. Insisting on their claims, the Chinese strengthen the disputed archipelagos of the Spratly and Paracel Islands, on the continental shelf which, according to studies, there are large reserves of oil, gas and hydrates.

From one cubic meter of “combustible ice” you can get more than 160 cubic meters of methane. According to some estimates, the world reserves of gas hydrates on the order exceeds the reserves of “conventional” natural gas, however, the exact volume of those reserves, scientists estimate differently, estimates range from 2500 to 20 thousand trillion cubic meters. To the present time the deposits of gas hydrates have been found close to the shores of the USA, Canada, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, India and China, as well as in the Mediterranean, Black, Caspian and South China seas. However, the development of gas hydrate deposits is complicated by the high cost of production.

In the early 2000-ies of the implementation of the state program on development of gas hydrate deposits in the beginning Japan, which was created by the research consortium MH21. In February 2012, the Japanese national Corporation for oil, gas and metals (JOGMEC) has conducted test drilling in the Pacific, and in March 2013 launched the world’s first to test the extraction of methane from hydrates in the open sea. The full field development is planned to begin in 2018 after the development of suitable for industrial use-mining technology.

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Evaluation JOGMEC, with the available reserves of methane hydrates on the shelf of the country, Japan can cover its needs in natural gas for 100 years.

In Russia the presence of deposits of gas hydrates is confirmed at the bottom of lake Baikal, Black sea, Caspian and Okhotsk seas, however, the development of gas hydrates in these fields have been conducted. Preliminary assessment of “Gazprom VNIIGAZ” indicate the presence of the country’s resources of gas hydrates 1 in 100 trillion. cubic meters In mid-2013, it was reported that far East geological Institute has offered “Rosneft” to study the possibility of extraction of gas hydrates on the shelf of the Kuril Islands, assessing their potential to 87 trillion. CBM


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