Will the East Sea heat up as China discovers frozen gas reserves?

Jul 05, 2016 12:00 AM

China has recently stated that it has discovered a strip of methane hydrate 350 kilometers long near the Pearl River at a depth of 1,300 meters below sea water level.

The Chinese administration did not give any figure about how much natural gas the methane hydrate reserves can produce.

The Chinese government said there was  ‘frozen gas’ in the East Sea (South China Sea) three years ago. In August 2014, Beijing announced it planned to exploit frozen gas in 2017.

Trinh Xuan Cuong, deputy director of Vietnam Oil and Gas Institute, said it won’t be simple to conduct the drilling operation at the depth of thousands of meters below the sea water level.

Japan conducted the drilling in 2013 and it did not gain success. South Korea recently intended to do this, but has delayed the plan because of the oil price drop.

China or any other country will have to think carefully about the plan to exploit frozen gas because the work will require very high technology, while they will also have to anticipate environmental problems.

Cuong spoke about the mystery stories about the disappearance of the vessels at Bermuda Devil’s Triangle. This was attributed to an abnormal temperature increase from the earth's surface and womb caused by the geographical fault lines which liberalized frozen gas and caused underground gas explosions.

“China still uses Russian technology and relies on equipment from the US,” he commented. “If it discovered technology to exploit frozen gas, it would announce this".

Meanwhile, there are always latent risks in the exploitation process. There are areas in the East Sea which receive many strong typhoons. Thus, it is very difficult to install rigs for exploitation.

Also according to Cuong, frozen gas, by nature, must not be seen as a kind of ‘clean fuel’.

“I strongly believe that methane hydrate should not be a matter of concern at this moment, because we have other sources of clean energy such as solar and wind energy which are getting cheaper,” he said.

Phung Van Phach, director of institute of geography and marine geology, also said that China discovering frozen gas does not mean it can exploit it.

“I think that it will take much more time to find technology to exploit frozen gas,” he said.

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