Commercial exploitation of methane hydrate is economically viable when oil trades above $54 a barrel, Japan's government estimated two years ago. The trade ministry is targeting 2016 to start production, corresponding with the scheduled completion of the 16-year government-led test project.
While governments are attracted to an abundant clean fuel, drilling risks disturbing the seabed and triggering an uncontrolled release, says Matsumoto of the University of Tokyo.
``A mass release of methane into the sea and the atmosphere is a risk for global warming,'' he says. ``Massive landslides at the ocean floor must be avoided when drilling at the Nankai Trough.''
The econutjob lobby in the US will predictably oppose mining off the Carolinas & Georgia where giant seabed methane deposits could be profitably extracted. However, the same whackjobs who oppose ANWR in Alaska & offshore in the US will eventually destroy the American economy unless sane citizens elect sane representatives.
It's up to us. All we sane Americans.