Start of the world’s first offshore production test of natural gas from decomposition of methane hydrate was confirmed by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) this week, with the commencement of under seafloor harvesting. Production is taking place off the coast of Shima Peninsula in Japan’s main island of Honshu.
Successful production will not only alleviate Japan’s reliance on imported LNG but also confirm natural gas availability long into the future. Massive methane hydrate deposits have been confirmed worldwide. The ability to commercially access this resource will bode well for the growing natural gas vehicle industry. As a fuel for transportation, natural gas (CNG and LNG) is economical, safe and significantly more environmentally friendly than conventional hydrocarbon fuels.
The offshore methane hydrate deposit is located 300 metres beneath the seafloor. The production test will be carried out initially for two weeks. Japan acknowledges there are still many hurdles to overcome, with full scale production not expected for another five years.
The project is being carried out by the Minsitry’s Division of Oil and Natural Gas Resources and Fuel Department, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy.
In September 2011, Japan’s Sagawa Express Co. Ltd received acknowledgement by NGV Global as the world’s largest HD natural gas truck fleet, with 4,217 vehicles.
In November 2012, Ecotruck Co., Ltd, a freight company nominated by The Japan Gas Association for its commitment to promoting natural gas vehicles (NGVs) as a contribution to the global environment, was recognised as an NGV Champion by NGV Global at its biennial conference and exhibition, Mexico City. Almost 100% or Ecotruck’s fleet are NGVs.
(Primary Source: Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI))