BEIJING — China will set up two to four large combustible ice bases for industrial development, the Ministry of Land and Resources (MOLR) said on June 2.
The government will also formulate regulation and other industrial procedures, according to Li Jinfa, deputy director of the China Geological Survey under the MOLR.
China is estimated to have 80 billion tonnes of oil equivalent combustible ice, according to Li.
Yu Haifeng, a senior official with the MOLR, suggested setting combustible ice as a new mineral species and including its development in the category of emerging strategic sectors to encourage enterprises exploit the resource.
Combustible ice usually exists in seabed or tundra areas, which have the high pressure and low temperature necessary for its stability. It is flammable like solid ethanol.
China announced its success on May 18 in collecting samples of combustible ice in the South China Sea after nearly two decades of research and exploration, a major breakthrough that may lead to a global energy revolution.