According to The echoes:
Tonight in Asia: Japan attacks a “burning ice” deposit
The Japanese government is launching offshore exploration for methane hydrate deposits. Some experts say that these deposits are, on a global scale, greater than the oil reserves, but their extraction promises to be very delicate.
Two years to the day after the destruction of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, the government will begin today, off its coast, prospecting for methane hydrate deposits, commonly known as “burning ice”, with the hope to update a new energy source to power the country. An exploration vessel chartered by Jogmec (Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp) and the Ministry of Industry will carry out, in the basement of the Nankai marine pit, the first production tests for these hydrates from methane, compounds of ice and natural gas resulting from the decomposition of organic matter.
Some experts say that these deposits are, on a global scale, greater than the current oil reserves, but their extraction promises to be extremely delicate. Jogmec, which has tested in Canadian permafrost a technique of "depressurization" of these methane crystals, hopes to go back from the depths of tens of thousands of cubic meters of gas per day during the next two weeks of experimentation. If the technique proved to be effective, commercial exploitation could be launched by 2018