South China Sea Dispute: China Discovers ‘Fire Ice’ Energy Source In Disputed Waters

South China Sea Dispute: China Discovers ‘Fire Ice’ Energy Source In Disputed Waters
Photo Credit: Ndecam via Compfight cc

As tensions continue over the South China Sea, it seems that China has discovered a new energy source in the area.


Recently, an animated video has been released by state-run television CCTV. As Morning News USA previously reported, China has been busy putting up several infrastructure along the disputed areas of South China Sea. In the video, it was stated that the projects were meant “to better ensure the safety and freedom of this shipping route.” Would China say the same about harnessing a new energy source in the area?

According to a recent report from the South China Morning Post, the China Geological Survey had discovered a new reserve of what is known as fire ice, or methane hydrate, in the deep ocean beds of South China Sea near the mouth basin of Pearl River. It is believed that the area could contain between 100 to 150 billion cubic meters of the natural gas, proving to be a rich resource of alternative energy. Authorities, though, declined to state the amount of natural gas the new reserve can produce.

The mission was done by utilizing a Chinese diving vessel named Seahorse. It is a remote-controlled vessel that can readily reach a depth of 4,500 meters. Chinese authorities have reportedly named the western spring the “Seahorse Cold Spring” in honor of the vessel.

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According to the Lawrence Livemore National Laboratory, it is possible that the energy “locked up” in methane hydrate deposits would be more than twice the global reserves that oil, coal deposits, and conventional gas have combined. Since methane is a greenhouse gas, it’s possible that releasing even a small percentage of total deposits can pose a “serious effect” on the Earth’s atmosphere.

In China, there now remains the challenge of how to excavate fuel from “fire ice” to utilize it for commercial use.

Also read: South China Sea Dispute: China Defends Territorial Claim With Animation

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