The natural gas resource from methane hydrate offshore Japan is estimated to be 74 trillion cubic meters. To develop it, the Advisory Committee for the Natural Methane Hydrate Exploitation Program was organized in 2000, and documented the report "Japan's Methane Hydrate Exploitation Program" in June 2001. Based on the report, the Agency of Natural Resources and Energy of Japan has made the R&D program on the production. To execute the project, MH21 Research Consortium has organized in 2002. In this presentation, overview of MH21 Research Consortium activities and current topics in production method & modeling area will be presented.
It can be said that natural gas utilization of Japan started from the construction beginning the pipeline between Niigata and Tokyo of 1961 and the procurement of liquefied natural gas from Alaska in 1969. Afterwards, the introduction of the oil alternative fuel has advanced in Japan with the first oil crisis to start by the fourth Middle East war in 1973. The amount of the liquefied natural gas import in Japan that is 17 million tons in 1980, increases rapidly, and is reaching 60 million tons now. And the utilization will be much increased according to the national policy on energy. The latest investigation shows that methane hydrate distribution around the world, including offshore Japan, and the resource assessment of methane hydrate all over the world is estimated to be 404 trillion cubic meters. The natural gas resource from methane hydrate offshore Japan is estimated to be 74 trillion cubic meters, which is close to the consumption of natural gas in Japan for 100 years. In January 2000, exploratory drilling in the Nankai Trough off Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture succeeded to confirm methane hydrate in the sandy sediments by The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.