U.S. needs to ratify UNCLOS to guide CLCS rules or guidelines regarding methane hydrates
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In the Methane Hydrate Research and Development Act of 2000 Congress mandated the National Research Council to undertake a review of the Methane Hydrate Research and Development Program at the Department of Energy to provide advice to ensure that significant contributions are made towards understanding methane hydrates as a source of energy and as a potential contributor to climate change. That review is now underway. The U.S. Navy has also done work on gas hydrates, as has the U.S. scientific community, including universities such as Louisiana State University and Texas A&M. Significant research is also being conducted by scientific institutions in Japan. The United States needs to have a seat at the table of the Continental Shelf Commission in order to influence development of any international rules or guidelines that could affect gas hydrate resources beyond our EEZ.
Offshore operations are capital-intensive, requiring significant financing and insurance. Oil and natural gas companies do not want to undertake these massive expenditures if their lease sites may be subject to territorial dispute. They operate transnationally, and need to know that the title to the petroleum resources will be respected worldwide and not just in the United States.