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China Succeeds in Mining Combustible Ice in South China Sea

Date:2017-05-26 Author:irck

On May 18, China has succeeded in collecting samples of gas hydrate in the South China Sea, a major breakthrough that may lead to a global energy revolution, Minister of Land and Resources Jiang Daming said Thursday.

This is Chinas first success in mining flammable ice at sea, after nearly two decades of research and exploration, the minister said at a trial mining site in the Shenhu area of the South China Sea last Thursday.

The news soon spread national wide and won national attention and praise.

Combustible ice usually exists in seabed or tundra areas,which have the strong pressure and low temperature necessary for its stability. It can be ignited like solid ethanol, which is why it is called "combustible ice." One cubic meter of "combustible ice", a kind of natural gas hydrate, is equal to 164 cubic meters of regular natural gas. With its efficient and environementally freindly quality, the natural gas hydrate has been regarded as the best replacement for oil and natural gas in the future by the scientists.

Mining of combustible ice started in the 1960s, but Chinabegan research in 1998.

Trial mining of combustible ice in the Shenhu sea, about 320 kilometers southeast of Zhuhai City in Guangdong, started on March 28. Experts first tapped the natural gas hydrate at a depth of 1,266 meters under water nearly a week ago. An average of 16,000 cubic meters of gas withhigh purity was extracted each day.

Experts believe that the success shows China has mastered combustible ice mining technology.

The Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council sent a congratulatory letter for the achievement and contributions geologists have made during this process. According to the letter, the success marks a historic breakthrough after nearly two decades of continuous efforts and independent innovations by China in theory, technology, engineering and equipment for natural gas hydrate exploration and exploitation.The letter also said that this is merely a critical step in a very long journey with a daunting task ahead, encouraging the staff to promote the industrialization of natural gas hydrates exploration and exploitation in the future.



Photo taken shows the flames spouting from the trial mining site in the Shenhu area of the South China Sea


Photo taken shows the trial mining site in the Shenhu area of the South China Sea


                                                                                                          (From China Geological Survey)

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