This question has been addressed by experts of the Analytical Center in a summary of information under the title “Gas hydrates: extraction technologies and development prospects”.
Gas hydrates are a relatively new and potentially ample source of natural gas. Last year Japan conducted the world’s first offshore experiment successfully extracting methane from gas hydrates. This achievement urges us to have a closer look at the development prospects of this source of natural gas.
According to the experts’ provisional assessment, gas hydrate supplies worldwide considerably surpass supplies of conventional natural gas. However, their extraction brings about certain problems. Firstly, research conducted by experts is rather approximate. Secondly, with the current level of technological development being what it is, volumes of gas hydrate production remain insignificant, and even those will require vast expenditures and may result in unexpected environmental risks.
Nonetheless, experts note that a number of countries – namely, Canada, The US and countries of the Asian region - known for their high prices on natural gas and a growing demand for it, show great interest in further gas hydrate development and continue to actively look into this trend. Experts believe that although commercial production of gas hydrates is to start no sooner than in 10-12 years, we must not lose sight of this resource.
For more details, please, visit the summary of information prepared by the Directorate for Strategic studies in Energy of the Analytical Center.