The United States Department of Energy and industry partners are excited at their latest find – roughly 800m below the ground at Prudhoe Bay lies a huge source of energy, waiting to be tapped!!
It is a reservoir of methane hydrate – this looks very much like ice but burns like a candle if a match warms its molecules.
This has been reported in nzherald.com.nz of 13th of November 2012.
Nearly US$29 million ($35.5 million) have already been spent on experiment on the North Slope which has produced 30,000cu m of methane.
Even though there is no immediate need of methane this source in Alaska could be tapped if need arises in future – only, if work is begun when the need arises, it would take at least another 2 decades to arrive at a useful stage.
Hence – researchers feel that work should be started at the earliest.
Incidentally, countries like Japan, South Korea, India and China are trying to reduce their imports of natural gas imports by burning methane and Japan is setting up for a production test on a gas hydrate accumulation south of Honshu, its main island.
Therefore, exploiting the methane in Alaska could turn out to be a good business venture.
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