Japanese company: we could be producing methane-hydrate gas by 2016.

FT: “Japan has moved closer to unlocking what it hopes will be a major new source of carbon energy – one that could pose problems for efforts to combat climate change – after a research group extracted methane gas from frozen undersea deposits for the first time.” “The Japan Oil, Gas & Metals National Corp (Jogmec) said on Tuesday it had successfully extracted gas from deposits of methane hydrate, a hyper-abundant mix of frozen water and methane sometimes called “fire ice”. …Economically, offshore methane could struggle to compete with LNG at a time when new drilling techniques have opened up previously unreachable “shale gas” deposits and lowered prices. A Jogmec estimate from 2007 put production costs for methane hydrate-derived gas at Y92 a cubic metre. That is about nine times the US benchmark Henry Hub futures price for LNG, though Japan typically pays about four times the Henry Hub rate for its imports. If it can scale up production from test wells safely and economically, Jogmec said commercial methane production could begin in 2016 or 2018.”