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Important news
在线翻译:
szdaily -> Important news
CHINA SUCCEEDS IN MINING COMBUSTIBLE ICE
    2017-May-19  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

CHINA has succeeded in collecting samples of combustible ice in the South China Sea, a major breakthrough that may lead to a global energy revolution, Minister of Land and Resources Jiang Daming said Thursday.

This is China’s first success in mining flammable ice at sea, after nearly two decades of research and exploration, the minister said at a trial mining site in the Shenhu area of the South China Sea.

Combustible ice usually exists in seabed or tundra areas, which have the strong pressure and low temperature necessary for its stability. It can be ignited like solid ethanol, which is why it is called combustible ice.

Approximately 1 cubic meter of combustible ice is equal to 164 cubic meters of regular natural gas.

China found flammable ice, a kind of natural gas hydrate, in the South China Sea in 2007.

International scientific circles have predicted that natural gas hydrate is the best replacement for oil and natural gas.

According to Zhong Ziran, head of the China Geological Survey Bureau, combustible ice is more environmentally friendly and in large reserves.

Mining of combustible ice started in the 1960s, but China began research in 1998.

Trial mining of combustible ice in the Shenhu sea, about 320 kilometers southeast of Zhuhai City in Guangdong Province, started March 28. Experts first tapped natural gas hydrate at a depth of 1,266 meters underwater May 10.

An average of 16,000 cubic meters of gas with high purity is extracted each day.

The drill platform, Blue Whale I, was developed and built by Raffles, a subsidiary of Shenzhen-based China International Marine Containers (CIMC).

According to CIMC CEO and president Mai Boliang, the 117-meter-long, 92.7-meter-wide and 118-meter-high platform, which is equipped with two drilling towers, is the most advanced semi-submersible drilling platform on Earth, breaking the world’s records for operating depth and drilling depth.

In the meantime, it is the first “turn-key project” completed by a Chinese shipbuilder in the ultra-deep water field, making it a milestone in the nation’s offshore engineering sector.

Experts believe that the success shows China has mastered combustible ice mining technology.

“Many countries along the Maritime Silk Road have a demand for combustible ice mining,” said Qiu Haijun, director of the trial mining commanding headquarters.

“With the advanced technology we could help resolve the energy resource problem and boost economic development and exchanges between countries,” Qiu said.

According to experts, the South China Sea region is expected to have combustible ice stocks equivalent to 68 billion tons of oil. In addition, gas hydrate reserves have been found in Qinghai, equivalent to 35 billion tons of oil. Taking as yet unproven reserves in Tibetan Plateau into account, China is expected to have rich sources of combustible ice.

China is expected to employ combustible ice for commercial use as a replacement for traditional energy sources by 2030, according to the ministry.

(SD-Xinhua)

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