Hakurei vessel drilling for methane hydrate offshore Japan
Japan’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy (ANRE) will launch a drilling survey to collect geological samples, including methane hydrate, as an effort for ascertaining the amount of shallow methane hydrate resources.
For this purpose, on June 21, 2014, a survey vessel left Shimonoseki Port, heading to sea areas offshore the Joetsu region and offshore the Akita and Yamagata regions, which are the target sea areas of the FY2014 drilling survey.
Methane hydrate is a solid material that consists of methane and water, crystallized under low-temperature and high-pressure conditions. A considerable amount of methane hydrate is estimated to be present throughout Japan’s waters, and is expected to become a natural gas resource in the future.
Methane hydrate present in Japan’s waters is categorized into both shallow-type and sand-layer pore-filling type. From FY2013, based on the Basic Plan on Ocean Policy, which was approved by the Cabinet in April 2013, ANRE has conducted exploration surveys to ascertain the extent of shallow methane hydrate available, after previously establishing its presence in the Sea of Japan.
Based on the results of the regional mapping survey in FY2013, ANRE will collect geological samples, including methane hydrate, by a survey vessel in the sea areas offshore the Joetsu region and offshore the Akita and Yamagata regions, which are areas thought to have a high potential for the presence of the resource.
Survey period is scheduled for June 21 to July 10, 2014 using the Hakurei vessel owned by Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC)