Three undersea mud volcanoes that may be able to be mined for methane gas have been discovered off the Portuguese coast between the Azores and Gibraltar, Aveiro University announced.
Scientists say the volcanoes, 180 kilometres south-west of the tip of Portugal, are a “possible and very probable source of energy” for the future.
The discovery opens the possibility of more mud volcanoes in the wider Economic Exclusion Zone, meaning Portugal could have considerable gas reserves that are economically viable.
The reserves were discovered by a Portuguese-German team in 2012 on the research vessel “Meteor”, by a team including researchers Vítor Hugo Magalhães, Marina Cunha and Ana Hilário, from Aveiro University.
Aveiro University has been studying these mud volcanoes in the Gulf of Cadis since 1999 and the researchers said the methane molecules they found were “a potential source of future energy as every cubic centimetre of compressed gas (at that depth) is equivalent to 160 cc of natural gas”.