The announcement follows recent reports indicating Japan has enough deposits of methane hydrate to last for centuries.
Methane hydrate is a combination of methane gas and ice and is usually found on the ocean floor where high pressure and low temperatures are prevalent.
Methane hydrate might not be able to meet all the country’s energy demands but it would will be a potent alternative energy to oil, JOGMEC official Keiji Sugihara told Kyodo News.
Samples of methane hydrate were being analysed and tested to find the optimal way to extract methane gas from methane hydrate deposits.
Sugihara said methane hydrate has been detected in various places in Japan’s waters and JOGMEC intends to complete all extraction tests from Japanese waters by 2011 in order to reach the target of commercialising methane hydrate by 2016.