TOKYO — Japan says it has successfully extracted natural gas from methane deposits under the sea, in the first example of production of the gas offshore.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed what it said was gas flaming from a pipe at the project in the Pacific Ocean near central Japan. The breakthrough could be a step toward eventual commercial production, though the costs of extracting gas from the seabed are much higher than for other forms of production.
Methane hydrate is a form of methane gas frozen below the seabed or in permanently frozen ground. Japan earlier succeeded in producing such gas from permafrost in Canada in 2007-2008.
Resource-scarce Japan, which imports most of its energy, hopes to develop ways to produce natural gas from its own reserves.