At Godo Shigen Sangyo, we are extracting natural gas from the Minami Kanto Gas Field, which centers on Chiba Prefecture. Our extraction methods are tailored to the particular end-use for the gas. A vast expanse of natural gas dissolved in water, this field is the largest of its kind in Japan, and as such is one of the most important subterranean resources within the country.

We began supplying natural gas as a chemical industrial raw material from 1957. From 1967, we commenced supplying natural gas for urban household consumption. Currently around 80% of our natural gas production is supplied to this consumer market. To maintain a steady, stable supply of gas, we have made substantial investments in pipelines, reservoirs and holding tanks. The downstream gas supply system is overseen and managed by an integrated computer system. We are also actively involved in development work to improve our technology and upgrade our production and supply infrastructure.

The subterranean brine from which the natural gas has been extracted is sent to the iodine manufacturing plant. Natural gas is a clean energy source with huge relevance to the economics of the region in which it is harvested. Much is expected of it in the future.

Methane gas, which is derived from organic remains, is contained within water-permeable formations in sedimentary basins at comparatively shallow depths. It is dissolved within the water under pressure. Once the water in which the gas is dissolved is brought to the surface, the reduction in pressure allows the gas to be separated and extracted with relative ease.

Natural gas dissolved in water is composed mainly of methane (more than 99%). It is a clean energy source, devoid of toxic or polluting substances. There is associated water with this water source, mostly subterranean brine (which is very close in nature to sea water), from which a high concentration of iodide ions can be extracted.

This kind of natural gas dissolved in water from which an exceptionally high production output can be obtained is distributed preferentially in Mobara Type sedimentary formations centered on the city of Mobara in Chiba Prefecture. The cubic volume of natural gas that can be produced relative to the volume of the subterranean brine is known as the gas-water ratio (measured in units of Nm3/kl). Ordinarily this ratio is in the region of between one and three, but for formations of the Mobara Type, the ratio exceeds this range. In particularly good cases the ratio can even top 50 in value.

Once the natural gas and the subterranean brine waters have been separated on the surface using a mechanical separation vat, the gas is divided according to its end-use market and compressed for storage and distribution. In the case of the Mobara region in Chiba Prefecture, the gas is naturally free of toxic pollutants and has a very stable, reliable composition. It can therefore be used in homes as a fuel.

With a view to rationalizing the gas supply system and ensuring a stable, reliable supply, in 1976 we installed a computer-based remote monitoring and control system to enable us to manage gas supplies more efficiently. Today this integrated computer system covers the entire downstream supply chain infrastructure, encompassing all our production plants and spanning every part of the production/supply process from production at the well-heads, supply and storage via the pipelines and holding tanks, to eventual supply to the end-user. The entire process is extremely safe and highly reliable. But, to maintain safety and ensure the future reliability of the system, we take comprehensive steps to bolster and upgrade our infrastructure as necessary.

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