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Japan to test-drill for seabed 'burning ice': Nikkei

[ 2011-07-27 15:30]     字号 [] [] []  
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Japan will seek to extract natural gas from seabed deposits of methane hydrate, also known as "burning ice", in the world's first such offshore experiment, a news report said on Monday.

The test is scheduled for a stretch of ocean southwest of Tokyo and will be under way through March 2013, the Nikkei financial daily said.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is preparing to request more than 10 billion yen ($127.5 million) for the project, the report said.

The government will support further research and aims for commercial drilling to start early in the next decade, the newspaper said.

Methane hydrates are found in environments with high pressure and low temperatures such as the ocean floor. They are often near continental fault lines, where the gas crystallizes on contact with cold sea water.

Japan has been looking to diversify its energy resources since the powerful March 11 earthquake and tsunami triggered the world's worst nuclear accident in 25 years at the Fukushima Daiichi plant northeast of Tokyo.

Resource-poor Japan relies heavily on energy imports from the Middle East and until recently met one third of its electricity needs with nuclear power. But Japan now plans to look to renewable energy resources such as solar and wind power.


1. What does Japan hope to extract from methane hydrate found on the ocean floor?

2. Why is methane hydrate called “burning ice?”

3. How much of Japan’s energy needs were met by nuclear power, and why is Japan now looking at alternative energy sources?


1. Japan hopes to extract natural gas and use it as an energy source.

2. Because methane hydrates are often found near continental fault lines, that’s where the gas crystallizes, or becomes like ice, on contact with cold sea water.

3. Nuclear power until recently met one-third of Japan’s energy needs. But Japan is looking at alternatives in the wake of the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant northeast of Tokyo in March.

(中国日报网英语点津 编辑:Julie)

Japan to test-drill for seabed 'burning ice': Nikkei

About the broadcaster:

Japan to test-drill for seabed 'burning ice': Nikkei

Renee Haines is an editor and broadcaster at China Daily. Renee has more than 15 years of experience as a newspaper editor, radio station anchor and news director, news-wire service reporter and bureau chief, magazine writer, book editor and website consultant. She came to China from the United States.