Li Jinfa, deputy director of the China Geological Survey of the Ministry of Natural Resources, said recently that China will accelerate the industrialization of natural gas hydrate exploration and mining, and coordinate resource exploration, trial and acquisition, environmental protection, platform construction and industrial policy formulation. Li Jin said that natural gas hydrate is the new type of green energy that is recognized as the most likely to replace conventional energy such as coal and petroleum in the 21st century. It has the characteristics of high energy density, clean and environmental protection, wide distribution area, large resource scale and special production environment. The strategic commanding heights of future global energy development.
The so-called natural gas hydrate is flammable ice, which is both hydrated and solid, looks like ice, and is easily ignited. Last year, China became the first country in the world to obtain continuous steady airflow in the flammable ice test in the sea area, and achieved continuous gas production for 60 days in the sea area. The cumulative gas production exceeded 300,000 cubic meters, creating a continuous gas production period and total gas production. World record, this is the world’s first successful implementation of the muddy silt-type gas hydrate test mining with more than 90% of the global resources and the most difficult development. According to industry insiders, the success of test mining has taken a key step in promoting the industrialization of natural gas hydrates.
The energy density of combustible ice is very high. Under the same conditions, combustible ice combustion produces 10 times more energy than coal, oil and natural gas. After 1 cubic meter of combustible ice is decomposed, it can release 164 cubic meters of natural gas. It is understood that China has obtained natural gas hydrate samples in the South China Sea and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau frozen soil area, making China the only country in the middle and low latitudes with natural gas hydrate resources in the seabed and onshore frozen soil areas. It should be pointed out that combustible ice mining is very difficult. Combustible ice is sealed by low temperature and high pressure. If the temperature rises, methane in the hydrate may overflow; or if the ice is ablated and the pressure rises, once it is improperly controlled, it may cause geological disasters such as submarine landslides. To this end, analysts believe that the success of China’s flammable ice test marks that China has achieved independent innovation in the theory, technology, engineering and equipment of combustible ice exploration and development, and achieved a historic breakthrough.
Li Jinfa said that China has established environmental monitoring of the atmosphere, water body, seabed and underground in the test mining, real-time monitoring and effective control of the whole process, and environmental impact assessment after the test mining. The results show that there is no leakage of test methane, no pollution in the atmosphere and water body, no geological disasters in the seabed and underground, and it is preliminarily confirmed that green development of natural gas hydrate is feasible. Qiu Haijun, deputy director of the Basic Investigation Department of the China Geological Survey and director of the Office of the Natural Gas Hydrate Test and Production Site Command, said in an interview that the natural gas hydrate resources in China’s seas are about 80 billion tons of oil equivalent. Through the census of key areas, 11 favorable ones have been delineated. In the prospect area, 19 metallogenic belts have been identified by drilling and verification for two hundred billion cubic meters of mineral deposits. Qiu Haijun said that in the future, China will focus on accelerating the goal of industrialization and strive for maximizing trial and mining results. At the same time, relevant departments continue to increase the investigation of natural gas hydrate resources, carry out detailed investigation of key target areas, provide two to four large resource bases, and lay a resource base for promoting industrialization. Based on the investigation and research of China’s combustible ice, it is expected that China will be able to commercialize combustible ice around 2030.