Public and Private Regulations for the Governance of the Risks of Offshore Methane Hydrates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The onset of commercial production and extraction of offshore methane hydrates would provide both potential benefits and hazards. This study addresses how public regulations and private regulations might be efficiently employed to attain optimal levels of extraction activity with attendant optimal levels of precautionary activity to enable a welfare efficient balancing of the potential benefits and hazards. This study calls for the coordinated application of both public and private regulation to best attain optimal results.

The study provides an introduction to the circumstances of offshore methane hydrates. Offshore methane hydrates are estimated to potentially provide much larger volumes of energy resources than current traditional fossil fuels. Also, the resource base is widely distributed unlike traditional fossil fuels.

The extraction of methane from offshore hydrate deposits could potentially enable release of methane gas from the seabed. Such a release could threaten the biota and ecology of the nearby seas and potentially disrupt the enjoyment of the seas by the local coastal populations. However, offshore methane hydrate accidents could also give rise to subsea landslides, tsunamis, and coastal inundations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87 - 137
Number of pages51
JournalVermont Journal of Environmental Law
Issue number1
Early online date1 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015


  • Methane Hydrates
  • regulation
  • law and economics, tort law, civil liability, regulations, private regulations, methane hydrates, gas hydrates, energy law, accident law, Shavell, Posner, Faure, offshore, energy, natural gas
  • law & economics
  • methane
  • private regulation
  • public regulation
  • environmental law
  • energy law


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