The Japanese and US governments agreed Thursday to implement joint development research on methane hydrate, which is considered as next-generation fuel source.
The government-affiliated Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. (JOGMEC) and the US National Energy Technology Laboratory signed a memorandum of understanding in Tokyo on collaboration towards realization of methane hydrate onshore production test, JOGMEC said in a press release.
Under the agreement, the two sides will jointly conduct various research and preparatory activities in northern Alaska for about five years from 2015, including project planning, site survey and exploration of methane hydrates, with an aim of establishing its low-cost and stable production methods.
Methane hydrate is the frozen natural gas formed from methane and water. Also known as flammable ice, the substance is seen as a promising energy source for Japan. According to one estimate, the amount of methane hydrate deposits in waters around Japan are equivalent to 40 years of natural gas consumption in the country.
Japan, the world's third-biggest energy user after the US and China, is keen to secure domestic energy resources.