China succeeds in mining subsea methane ice

China succeeds in mining subsea methane ice

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China has succeeded in extracting methane gas from solid deposits under the sea in an experiment that could eventually lead to the commercial production of what is being touted as an abundant new source of energy, the South China Morning Post reports. In a first for the country, engineers extracted the gas from the so-called "flammable ice" – methane hydrate, where the gas is trapped in ice crystals – and converted it to natural gas in a single, continuous operation on a floating production platform in the Shenhu area of the South China Sea, about 300km southeast of Hong Kong, the Ministry of Land and Resources said on Thursday. China was a latecomer to the methane hydrate scene, but has been catching up fast since the discovery of promising reserves in the South China Sea in 2007. The US Department of Energy has estimated the total amount could exceed the combined energy content of all other fossil fuels.