Japan extracts gas from methane hydrate, ‘Flammable Ice’

Hiroko Tabuchi at the Times reports that Japan has successfully extracted gas from offshore deposits of methane hydrate, also referred to as “flammable ice.” The breakthrough is hailed as a possible step "toward tapping a promising but still little-understood energy source." The extraction from a deep-sea bed hydrate reservoir is believed to have been the world's first, and "could provide an alternative source of energy to known oil and gas reserves." [NYT]