WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Energy has completed an unprecedented successful test of harvesting the vast storehouse of methane hydrates on Alaska's North Slope, essentially natural gas locked in ice crystals under the permafrost.It is still a long way from being commercial but the potential is huge.
The U.S. Geological Survey has estimated that the North Slope holds 590 trillion cubic feet of methane hydrate, potentially at least three times as much as the huge amount of conventional natural gas on the North Slope.
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"We just completed the test, just plugged the well last week but we've got 30 days of production data which is considerably longer than any field test anyone in the world has ever done," said Christopher Smith, deputy assistant secretary for oil and natural gas. "We're headed back to the laboratory to analyze that and we're excited about the early results."
Bold print is my emphasis.
This could be a big deal, IF the federal regulatory agencies (and there are a LOT of them) and the myriad enviro-weenies and greenie-type organizations will get out of the way.