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China Becomes First Country to Lift ‘Combustible Ice’ From Ocean Floor

Sputnik – 18.05.2017

China has managed to successfully mine combustible ice in the South China Sea after nearly two decades of research and exploration.

The trial mining site is situated in the Shenhu area of the South China Sea. It is a major breakthrough that may lead to a global energy revolution, according to China’s Minister of Land and Resources Jiang Daming.

In a statement published on China’s government website it said that the natural gas hydrate is the best replacement for oil and natural gas.

Combustible ice usually exists in seabeds or tundra areas, which have the strong pressure and low temperature necessary to keep it stable. It can be ignited like solid ethanol, which is why it is called “combustible ice.”

China first discovered combustible ice, a kind of natural gas hydrate that can be lit on fire and burned as fuel, in the South China Sea back in 2007.

CCTV channel, reported that samples of combustible ice were lifted from a depth of 1,266 meters in the South China Sea region, 285 kilometers from Hong Kong.

Since May 10, the Chinese oil industry has produced 120,000 cubic meters of combustible ice which contains 99.5% of methane.

Experts believe that the extraction shows China has mastered combustible ice mining technology.

“Many countries along the Maritime Silk Road have a demand for combustible ice mining,” Qiu Haijun, director of the trial mining commanding headquarters said, Shanghai Daily reported.

“With the advanced technology we could help resolve the energy resource problem and boost economic development and exchanges between countries,” Qiu said.

May 18, 2017 - Posted by | Economics, Timeless or most popular | ,

2 Comments »

  1. Hmmm — intriguing, but I’m left…cold. How much of this stuff (fields of it, like oil fields?) is available where China is working? Is it deposited on ocean floors across the globe? Isn’t methane a very dangerous gas? Images of (smoking) dry ice crossed my mind as I read…is there any relation? White phosphorus is ignitable/combustible upon exposure to air; any connection? Will prestigious scientific studies and journals follow, with urgency and publicity, this announcement? Lotsa questions and concerns, stemming first and foremost from my vast ignorance….

    (I do note two “Related” reports, just above, about Iran and Japan. I should probably “relate” to them….)

    Comment by roberthstiver | May 18, 2017 | Reply

    • My understanding is that this is a major breakthrough and we are now in the methane hydrates era.

      China apparently has vast quantities of this resource within its territorial waters as does Japan as well as many other coastal nations which have yet to locate adequate conventional oil and gas. Globally, methane hydrates exceed total known oil and gas reserves by at least an order of magnitude.

      The trick in mining methane hydrates is to contain the ice while bringing it to the surface so as to retain the gas which vaporizes upon lifting from the depths. Japan has committed a lot of research effort into this but it seems that the Chinese have beaten them.

      Comment by aletho | May 18, 2017 | Reply


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