Japan Lags Behind West in Exploration Technology, Says JOGMEC
Hakurei, a state-of-the-art research vessel has been constructed and will be the first vessel commissioned by the Japanese government in 30 years, Ajw.asahi.com reports.
But the officials from the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. (JOGMEC), which owns the Hakurei, are not satisfied: “The ship was built in Japan, but a lot of the equipment required for resource surveying is foreign made.”
The majority of technology used in survey and exploration of deep sea resources has been developed by the United Stated and Europe, given that they have an abundance of oil and gas offshore resources. Japan is way behind these countries in technological strength and price competitiveness.
French engineering company Technip encompasses the undersea extraction works by pipe of oil and gas, as well as minerals. Nautilus Minerals, which carries out exploitation of metallic metals on the ocean floor, also uses Technip’s technology.
One of the companies that also entered this business is IHC of the Netherlands. Their major operations include port dredging and construction of dredging vessels.
IHC Mining managing director Martijn Schouten says: “Dredging and mineral exploitation are much the same, in the sense that they both involve boring rocks and sand on the ocean floor and hauling them up to ships.”
Tokyo University professor Yasuhiro Kato found that there are large quantities of seabed mud containing rare earth in international waters in the Pacific Ocean. He stated that: “The world is turning its attention to the exploitation of seabed resources.
“We need to cultivate our technological capability not only from the perspective of securing these resources, but in order to compete with foreign companies.”
Dredging Today Staff, June 25, 2012; Image: jogmec