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Agency for Natural Resources and Energy Second Offshore Methane Hydrate Production Test Finishes

In April 2017, the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy(ANRE)launched an offshore production test, commissioned to the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation(JOGMEC), to dissolve methane hydrate and extract natural gas in the offshore sea area between Atsumi Peninsula to Shima Peninsula(Daini Atsumi Knoll)using the Deep Sea Drilling Vessel Chikyu. On June 28, 2017, it finished the test in a timely manner.

ANRE will collect equipment in the sea areas around the testing point.

1. Background

Methane hydrate is a compound that consists of methane and water that is crystallized in a low-temperature, high-pressure state. A considerable amount of methane hydrate is estimated to be present in the undersea areas surrounding Japan, and is expected to be a source of domestic natural gas in the future.

2. Test results

The second offshore methane hydrate production test was conducted, aiming to solve a problem caused by sand intrusion into a well during the first test and to confirm the increase in gas production rates during a three- to four-week production test.

As a result of this test, while one of the two production wells suffered the sand-intrusion problem, ANRE achieved a certain level of success from the second well, in which no problems occurred. However, ANRE could not clearly confirm an increase in the production rates at either of the wells, leaving challenges in establishing gas production technologies unsolved.

Reference: Amount of gas produced during the second test (provisional value)
First production well: Approximately 35,000 m3 in total in 12 days
Second production well: Approximately 200,000 m3 in total in 24 days

3. Future actions

ANRE will conduct a thorough investigation with external experts to determine the test results and causal factors, as well as prepare the final draft paper of a development roadmap for the future commercialization of methane hydrate, and then include the roadmap in the next version of the Basic Plan on Ocean Policy.

Release date

June 29, 2017

Division in Charge

Petroleum and Natural Gas Division, Natural Resources and Fuel Department, Agency for Natural Resources and Energy

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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