Avoiding Epimetheus: Planning Ahead for the Commercial Development of Offshore Methane Hydrates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article serves to introduce the legal and policy concerns attached to the commercial development of offshore methane hydrates as an alternative energy resource.

It provides a technical primer on the facts and circumstances of offshore methane hydrates. It explores the potential benefits to be derived from the extraction of offshore methane hydrates. It also details some of the novel environmental problems to be encountered as these resources are commercially extracted.

Thereafter, the article attempts to provide a survey of legal and policy concerns that will be brought on as offshore methane hydrates are commercialized. The study finds that social and environmental solutions should be addressed in anticipation of, not in subsequent reaction to, the development of offshore methane hydrates.

The article explores the potential to employ a form of methane hydrate banking, in order to provide incentives to owners of unsafe hydrate deposits or to owners that might not have sufficient institutional resources to provide for the optimal governance of hydrate operations. Revenue sharing might be explored to provide incentives for alignment with other resource owners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-25, 56-58
Number of pages15
JournalSustainable Development Law & Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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