A basic research project on “the South China Sea gas hydrate accumulation and exploitation” was successfully finished. The project was mainly undertaken by the China Geological Survey Bureau. It targeted the gas hydrate on the northern slope of the South China Sea and was focused on conditions for its formation, as well as the formation process dynamics and accumulation. The project has resulted in a number of insights that will be used in future gas hydrate research.
According to the source article the exploitation of marine gas hydrate puts high requirements on current available technology. It could be a potential hazard since mining may cause seabed instability, leading to geological disasters and is likely to have an impact on the atmospheric environment. Quite a few issues need to be solved before large scale gas hydrate exploitation can be commercialized.
China was late in the gas hydrate resources survey and evaluation. Only in 1999, the Ministry of Land and Resources started to carry out gas hydrate resources investigation. On December 17, 2013, the Ministry announced discovery of gas hydrate samples of high purity along the eastern coast of Guangdong Pearl River Basin. It also estimated a large stock of gas hydrate in this area. China is No.4 in the world after USA, Japan and India, to get the gas hydrate samples through national R&D programmes.
The gas hydrate sample is discovered not very deep under the seabed and its stock is in rather thick layers and with high purity. The distribution of this gas hydrate stock is estimated an area of 55 square kilometers which accounts for 100~150 trillion cubic meters of natural gas.