The government-affiliated Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) and a major US energy company plan to test for methane hydrate reserves in the US state of Alaska, public broadcaster NHK reported Wednesday.
JOGMEC sealed a deal with ConocoPhillips to carry out testing from January next year, the report said, adding that the two entities will back a project to dig a well up to 1,000 meters that will gauge the amount of gas contained in the area.
Methane hydrate is a type of natural gas formed from methane and water, and the joint experiments would pave the way for Japan to utilize undersea methane hydrate deposits.
Methane hydrate reserves have also been identified in sea beds off Japan's coast. Some experts say the amount is potentially so great it could meet Japan's gas requirements for 100 years.Japan, the world's third-biggest energy use after China and the US, is seeking ways to efficiently extract these natural gas molecules.