BEIJING (AP) — Commercial development of the globe's vast 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.
Combustible ice is a frozen mixture of water and natural gas, technically known as methane hydrate.
It's believed to comprise one of the world's most abundant fossil fuels and has been found beneath seafloors, Arctic permafrost and Antarctic ice.
The official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that the fuel was successfully mined from beneath the South China Sea on Thursday. A drilling crew in Japan reported a similar successful operation May 4 along the Shima Peninsula.
But experts say large-scale production remains many years away and if not done properly could flood the atmosphere with climate-changing greenhouse gases.