Untouched reservoirs of a potentially valuable new type of fossil fuel will “probably” be found in the North Sea, an expert said yesterday.
Professor Tim Minshull said a fuel resource dubbed “fire ice” could lead to major investment and jobs in the north-east-based energy industry in future decades.
The Press and Journal reported yesterday that UK Energy Minister Charles Hendry revealed methane hydrate reserves are “possibly” contained in deep waters west of Shetland.
The ice-trapped gas is predicted to become a major global energy resource in the future, with Japan, the US, China and India already carrying out advanced testing.
Experts estimate there is twice the amount of energy in the untouched global reserves of fire ice as the total for all other fossil fuels put together.
Prof Minshull, from the National Oceanography Centre at South-ampton University, suggested it was more likely than not that the hydrates are in the North Sea.
He said: “There probably is a lot of hydrate out there because it seems to be pretty much everywhere if you look hard enough.”