Comprehensive extraction of gas hydrates from the underwater sea field began.

In the Geological Survey of the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources of China, they declared success with the experiment with the extraction of gas hydrates from the field at the bottom of the South China Sea.

The development of a field of so-called "fuel ice" (externally, gas hydrates resemble snow or loose ice) began on May 10 and so far has been successful for eight consecutive days. During this time, more than 120 thousand cubic meters of gas with a methane content of up to 99.5% were obtained from a deposit located at a depth of more than 1200 meters from the surface of the sea and about 200 meters from the surface of the sea floor.

The success story of the experiment is said to be an historic breakthrough in the Geological Survey. It is especially emphasized that the experiment was the first successful example of commercial marine hydrocarbon production, it was achieved with reliance solely on its own strength and would have "serious consequences".

The water area of the South China Sea, in which hydrate extraction has begun, is the subject of territorial disputes between a number of countries. Insisting on their demands, the Chinese strengthen the controversial archipelagos Spratly and the Paracel Islands, on the shelves of which, according to research, concentrated large reserves of oil, gas and the same hydrates

One cubic meter of "fuel ice" can receive more than 160 cubic meters of methane. According to some estimates, the world's reserves of gas hydrates considerably exceed the reserves of "ordinary" natural gas, but the researchers estimate the exact amount of these stocks in different ways; estimates range from 2,500 to 20,000 trillion cubic meters. To date, gas hydrate deposits have been found near the coasts of the USA, Canada, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, India and China, as well as in the Mediterranean, Black, Caspian and South China Seas. However, the development of gas-hydrated deposits is complicated by the high cost of extraction


18 may, 2017