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The methane contained in the ocean floor in the form of methane hydrate also represents a tremendous energy windfall. What are the technical and scientific challenges facing the rational exploitation of underwater methane hydrate? Methane hydrates have been estimated at nearly twice the quantities of carbon trapped in the planet’s hydrocarbon deposits of petrol, natural gas and carbon, put together. Industrial interest in methane hydrates began with a surprising “fairy tale” in Siberia in the late 1970s. Japan has put all its technological might into researching it and has brought together international scientific teams to bring methane hydrate exploitation into line with environmental requirements. Will they manage to avoid the traps that could cause the hydrates to disappear, like huge underwater landslides?
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