October 19, 2011 / 1:55 AM / 6 years ago

RPT-Japan, US to start trial production of 'flammable ice' -media

TOKYO, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Japan and the United States plan to start joint trial production of methane hydrate in Alaska in January, Japanese media said on Wednesday, as they look for cost-effective ways to tap the frozen gas that is believed to be plentiful deep under water.

ConocoPhillips is set to operate the $14 million project in which state-backed Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC) will play a part, the Nikkei Shimbun and Asahi newspapers reported.

Methane hydrate, known as “flammable ice”, is formed from a mixture of methane and water at specific pressure and conditions.

Japan’s trade ministry has said it was requesting a budget of 9 billion yen ($117 million) for its first test drilling of methane hydrate off the coast of Aichi prefecture, central Japan, in the fiscal year starting in April.

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