Japan is planning a three-year study into how much methane hydrate, or "ice gas", it has within its territorial waters in the Japan Sea over the next three years, the country's trade and industry minister said Tuesday.
Japan will also continue to develop technologies to extract natural gas from undersea methane hydrate reserves with the aim of making commercialization of the process viable by as early as 2023, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshimitsu Motegi said Tuesday.
Methane hydrate is a compound in which a large amount of methane is trapped within a crystal structure made up of water, so forming a solid that is similar to ice.
Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) reported March 12 that it successfully extracted natural gas from methane hydrate deposits from under the seabed offshore Japan.
Dow Jones Newswires contributed to this article.