The South China Sea drilling platform extracted natural gas from combustible ice trapped under the seafloor.
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Commercial development of the globe's huge reserves of a frozen fossil fuel known as "combustible ice" has moved closer to reality after Japan and China successfully extracted the material from the seafloor off their coastlines.Combustible ice is a frozen mixture of water and concentrated natural gas. For Japan, methane hydrate offers the chance to reduce its heavy reliance of imported fuels if it can tap into reserves off its coastline.Previous sea oil exploration efforts by China met resistance, especially from Vietnam, but its methane hydrate operation was described as being outside the most hotly contested areas.Methane hydrate has been found beneath seafloors and buried inside Arctic permafrost and beneath Antarctic ice.That means methane hydrate reserves could meet global gas demands for 80 to 800 years at current consumption rates.
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