JOGMEC: Methane Hydrate Testing & Production

JOGMEC: Methane Hydrate Testing & Production

Methane hydrate, found below the deep-ocean floor off the coast of Japan, has the potential to meet Japan’s natural gas needs. JOGMEC (Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation) is closely involved in the planning and investigation necessary to make this resource available for practical use, as a next-generation source of clean energy.

Since 2001, JOGMEC have been researching and developing technologies for methane hydrate production as a member of the “Research Consortium for Methane Hydrate Resources in Japan (MH21)”, organized under industry-academia-government cooperation. In 2008, JOGMEC achieved the world’s first onshore production test using the “depressurization method”, successfully obtaining meaningful results.

In 2013, JOGMEC completed an offshore production test of methane hydrate, first in the world, off the coasts of the Atsumi and Shima Peninsula in Japan and produced approx. 120,000 m3 (approx. 20,000 m3/day) of gas during a 6-day testing period.

In 2017, they conducted the second offshore methane hydrate production test from April to June 2017, the second test was conducted in the same sea area as the first test (Daini Atsumi Knoll) with the vessel, Chikyu, with the aim of consecutively extracting natural gas for a longer period than in the first test, which was terminated for six days due to an accident caused by sand entering into a well. Remedying the cause of that accident will serve as another objective of the second test.

Specifically, ANRE is scheduled to dig two wells for gas production, for which different types of preventive measures against sand entry are provided. With one of the wells, ANRE is aiming for gas production for about three to four consecutive weeks from late April 2017. This will be followed by production from the second well, for about one week, using another preventive measure.

In light of the results of the second offshore methane hydrate production test, ANRE will continue efforts for methane hydrate production by advancing research and development regarding long-term and stable production, cost effectiveness, environmental impact and other elements, while monitoring the international situation, so as to launch private-led projects for commercialization around the mid-2020s according to the Basic Plan on Ocean Policy.

As a global pioneering project, they are determined to promote the development of technologies continuously and proceeding with enhancement of the technology platform for future commercial production.