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Japan Extracts Natural Gas From Methane Hydrate Deposits

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NadineJ
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earthquale risk?
NadineJ   5/31/2013 11:01:41 AM
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I listened to some of the speakers at the Fukushima Symposium held by Helen Caldicott Foundation last March.  There was a lot of concern about the long-term effects and what's not being shared wth the public.

Earthquake safety is extremely important in some parts of the world.  How does this process measure up?

far911
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Re: earthquale risk?
far911   5/31/2013 3:01:37 PM
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With rapid deterioration of oil resource, methane pools seem like the next forte of energy source. Safety concerns are extremely important in this case though, since a gas-based blowout is really hard to control. 

notarboca
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Re: earthquale risk?
notarboca   5/31/2013 3:58:44 PM
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I am particularly worried about deep sea drilling and a huge deposit escaping into the atmosphere.  Perhaps some new safety features for this sort of drilling could be investigated.

etmax
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Total Lunacy
etmax   6/3/2013 9:12:24 AM
There is reportedly 6000 time more methane hydrate deposits on the ocean floor than oil, gas and coal accessible anywhere on earth. We have gotten through 90% of the available oil 10% of the available natural gas and perhaps 20% of the coal and it has given us now > than 400ppm (0.04%) CO2 concentration in our atmoshpere. As the difference in amount between methane hydrates and other fuels is so large it is accurate enough to say that if near all of the deposits were used we would achieve a CO2 concentration of > 60%. this would lead to about a 40 degree (C) increase in average temperatures and using an unscientific methodology we could say that Arabia and Australia would have summer temperatures of around 95degC and Russia's coldest winters would be +10degC. In addition to this above 15% concentration people begin to suffocate so we wouldn't be here to see it. Now about safety measures. The deep sea drilling accident that occurred off the gulf of Mexico was a one in a million and took 87 days to fix and was a major economic disaster for the area. wind forward to a major Methane spill, probably a 1 in 100,000 chance of it happening and if it does the result will be about 20-30% of the world unliveable for maybe 1000 years and the death of about 90% of the world population of life (not just people). Add to that the certainty (yes it will happen) that all this extra CO2 will increase our CO2 levels enough for catastrophic climate change (not a bad as a spill but hardly better for those affected) So with that in mind, building more nuclear reactors and having 1 accident every ~25 years which kills up to 100 people immediately and maybe an additional 2000 over a lifetime seems like a small price to pay. To me it seems that the Japanese reckon killing 90% of world biosphere is better than the odd 1000 or so here and there. Puzzling.

CLMcDade
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Re: Total Lunacy
CLMcDade   6/3/2013 10:07:19 AM
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While the global impact of a disaster would be catastrophic, my first thought was more local - Japan is on extremely unstable ground.  It already experiences a large number of earthquakes on a daily basis, many devastating. 

If fracking can create earthquakes in relatively stable areas like Arkansas and Ohio, imagine what relieving pressure on a massive scale might do to unstable tetonic plates.  There are many ways to eliminate one's energy needs, but I don't think destroying the society (thereby eliminating the need) is one of the preferred approaches.

etmax
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Re: Total Lunacy
etmax   6/3/2013 10:28:10 AM
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Interesting what you say about fracking and earthquakes, they want to expand fracling here in Australia now that they've worn out their welcome in the US. That said, I don't think that methyl hydrate extraction creates an earthquake risk, from what I've read most is very close to the surface of the sea floor. It's more that it's only stable below certain temperatures and pressures and there are already signs of methane bubbles coming to the surface in Russian waters as a result of elevated sea temperatures resulting from (amongst other things) burning of our dwindling oil and gas and coal reserves. If 1% of it was liberated the temperature increases are considered enough to start a chain reaction = game over. :-( see http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/vast-methane-plumes-seen-in-arctic-ocean-as-sea-ice-retreats-6276278.html. I think life is a long list of choices, some you make, some others make for you. This impending situation is the result pure capitalism making all of those decisions based on greed. I think capitalism is better in general than the other ism's that have gone before it, but it looks like high time that it needs to have a leadership of scientists (not economists) that decide what can and can't be done. Sure there will be issues with that, but at least total annihilation won't be one of them.

William K.
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Re: Total Lunacy
William K.   6/3/2013 10:23:27 PM
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@Etmax, that oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico was the result of violating a large number of rules and a few laws, in addition to poor judgement in direct violation of correct procedure. While it was certainly not intentional it was logically predictable, based on what things were done wrong.

Now with the Japanese attempting to mine the methane Hydrate deposits, it is clear that they really don't understand what is happening, and don't care to understand. 

Besides that, your model for a carbon dioxide disaster is a bit deffective and missing a few terms. so the calculated results may probably not be seen in reality.

etmax
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Re: Total Lunacy
etmax   6/3/2013 10:56:51 PM
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Thanks William K, I welcome your input as to what the outcome or likelyhood of large plumes of methane might be given what's happening in Russia, and also welcome your opinions on plundering methyl hydrate deposits as a means of further increasing CO2 levels. I'm sure 6000 times as much methyl hydrate as existing fossil fuels doesn't equate to 6000 times more CO2, but even if it were only 1000 times more CO2 the impact would be devastating. I'm seriously asking you to put forward any suggestions as to outcome as discussion of this sort of thing in a sensible manner is most important. I'm happy to be proven wrong with evidence/knowledge etc. that I may not at this time posess.

William K.
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Platinum
Re: Total Lunacy
William K.   6/4/2013 8:25:08 AM
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My evaluation of the carbon dioxide issue is that we need to be very agressivley start planting green plants, which reverse the process. Instead of constantly mowing the grass near highways and expressways we need to let it grow. Also in the median areas. Forests liberate oxygen without consuming useful energy! Also, they would help reduce the impact of excess rainwater, which is a problem everywhere except California. 

 So some methods of reducing the problem are available almost for free, which is the main reason that they are not being emphasised.

No matter what the actual truth about global warming is, it is very clear that a large amount of the activity is aimed at advancing some folks personal agendas and also making a few people rich. Those involved in "Cap and trade", if it ever happens, will be very wealthy indeed, which tends to make the whole concept suspect as I see it. Whatever efforts are taken should not be pointed towards the vast personal enrichment of a few. As that happens, the credibility of those supporting the efforts is damaged quite a bit.

etmax
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Re: Total Lunacy
etmax   6/4/2013 9:54:05 AM
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I would agree mostly with that, including that some people will get rich. It is also true that burning carbon fossil fuels and otherwise worsening the problem also makes a lot of people rich. Given that whether the world wins or loses someone gets rich I tend to believe that we are better having someone get rich while fix the problem. Re cap and trade, I think that the only way to stop the majority of people from doing undesirable things is to hit them in the hip pocket. Maybe they need to tax different forms of carbon expenditure differently at least initially ie. things we can live without get taked more. Just think if there was a $1 carbon tax on plastic one-time useable shopping bags how quickly people would switch to a reuseable alternative. Just a thought provoker :-)

William K.
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Re: Total Lunacy
William K.   6/4/2013 7:21:58 PM
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@etmax, Attempting to control by taxation will bring about levels of government coruption not previously known. Those who are able make their living in business or industry, those who are not able make their living working forthe government. And having that kind of people deciding who will pay what amount of tax would esily be enough to start a revolution that would be quite ugly. That kind of tax is very much the sort of thing that destroys any belief in government honesty, it is just plain destructive.

But an aggressive approach to planting can lead to an effective way of removing the carbon dioxide without having the government goons trying to run our lives. For an example, just look at the TSA, which has ruined flying as an enjoyable experience and not done much to keep the bad guys off the planes. It has been demonstrated repeatedly that assorted weapons can slide right past them. So the solution is not more regulation and government interference, it is in working to capture that carbon in plants. Cheap, easy, and energy efficient.

etmax
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Re: Total Lunacy
etmax   6/4/2013 9:21:26 PM
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I'm not sure we have the arable land available to plant enough trees to do this only with absorbtion by that means, we have a 7e9 world population and heading towards 1e10 in a few years. We currently burn oil at a ridiculous rate because it's so cheap yet we also depend on that same oil for the manufacture of fertilisers to grow food, make medicines and plastics. Some of this can be replaced by alternative chemistries, but not all. So why wouldn't you want a mechanism that prevents this valuable resource being wasted on fire? Then think of helium, at our current rate of use we are likely to run out in the next 20-50 years. What do we do? we fill party balloons with it for a 1-2 day use. Helium is essential in medicine and science, there are no current replacements which will result in people dying. A $1 tax on helium in party balloons would stop this use so there can be no money made and therefore no corruption, Just as a $1 tax on throw away plastic bags can't cause corruption because no one would buy a $1 bag for one time use, and the supermarkets certainly wouldn't give them away. So no sale and no corruption :-) Mostly what I'm saying is that planting trees is only a small part of the solution, and that reduction has to be a large part of it until CO2 levels start coming down.

bobjengr
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Platinum
METHANE HYDRATES
bobjengr   6/4/2013 6:05:12 PM
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 Very interesting Cabe.  Several months ago I had an opportunity to work with several professors at Mississippi State regarding hydrates.  Several facts were presented as follows:

 Large amounts of methane, naturally frozen in this form, have been discovered in both permafrost formations and sea beds under the ocean's floor.  Methane hydrates are believed to form by migration of gas from significant depths along geological faults, followed by precipitation or crystallization, upon contact with rising gas streams of cold sea water.   About 6.4 trillion (that is, 6.4x1012) tons of methane lie at the bottom of the oceans in the form of clathrate hydrate.  Each kilogram of fully occupied hydrate (actually only about 96% occupancy is found) holds about 187 liters of methane (at atmospheric pressure).  

 One significant fact, ice-core methane clathrate records represent a primary source of data for global warming research, along with oxygen and carbon dioxide.   This is one reason why there is research data available on the huge quantities of entrapped methane gas.   Mr.  M.E. Benesh first proposed using this technique as a method of storing natural gas as early as 1942. At that time, the methodology of doing so was not available, now it very well may be as demonstrated by Mississippi State.  

My client was asking the question as to whether or not this method would be a viable approach to transporting Natural Gas; i.e. methane for commercial use.  The approach was very much cost-prohibitive at that time. 

Cabe Atwell
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Blogger
Re: METHANE HYDRATES
Cabe Atwell   6/10/2013 7:18:23 PM
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Bobjengr,

If we could use the hydrates properly, would you see it as the answer to our energy worries?

Efficiently extracting is another story.

C

Debera Harward
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Silver
Extraction Of Natural Gas By Methane Hydrate
Debera Harward   6/4/2013 8:13:25 PM
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Thanks Cabe for such an informative post . This is really amaziing that Japan is extracting natural gas from methane hydrate deposits in the seabed. However every technology has its pros and cons on one place with the help of this technology there can be increase in natural gas production on huge ratio however on the other hand it is very costly procedure , Seconldy drilling the seabed is not easy and is not as simple as considered there can be various damages that can lead to enviornmental issues and because of which government of different countries can retaliate as well.

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