India has discovered large, highly enriched accumulations of natural gas hydrates in the Bay of Bengal that has the potential to be tapped, a top US agency which helped in this major discovery has said.
“Advances like the Bay of Bengal discovery will help unlock the global energy resource potential of gas hydrates as well help define the technology needed to safely produce them,” said Walter Guidroz, coordinator of the US Geological Survey (USGS) Energy Resources Program coordinator.
USGS said this discovery was the result of the most comprehensive gas hydrate field venture in the world to date, made up of scientists from India, Japan and the US.
The scientists conducted ocean drilling, conventional sediment coring, pressure coring, downhole logging and analytical activities to assess the geologic occurrence, regional context and characteristics of gas hydrate deposits in the offshore of India, it said yesterday.
This research expedition was called the Indian National Gas Hydrate Program Expedition 02. It is second joint exploration for gas hydrate potential in the Indian Ocean.
The first expedition, also a partnership between scientists from India and the US, discovered gas hydrate accumulations, but in formations that are currently unlikely to be producible, a statement said.
Natural gas hydrates are a naturally occurring, ice-like combination of natural gas and water found in the world’’s oceans and polar regions.
Although it is possible to produce natural gas from gas hydrates, there are significant technical challenges, depending on the location and type of formation.
USGS said the second expedition focused the exploration and discovery of highly concentrated gas hydrate occurrences in sand reservoirs.
The gas hydrate discovered during the second expedition are located in coarse-grained sand-rich depositional systems in the Krishna-Godavari Basin and is made up of a sand-rich, gas-hydrate-bearing fan and channel-levee gas hydrate prospects.
The next steps for research will involve production testing in these sand reservoirs to determine if natural gas production is practical and economic, it said.
“The results from this expedition mark a critical step forward to understanding the energy resource potential of gas hydrates,” said USGS Senior Scientist Tim Collett, who participated in the expedition.
“The discovery of what we believe to be several of the largest and most concentrated gas hydrate accumulations yet found in the world will yield the geologic and engineering data needed to better understand the geologic controls on the occurrence of gas hydrate in nature and to assess the technologies needed to safely produce gas hydrates,” Collett said.
The international team of scientists was led by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited of India on behalf of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas India, in cooperation with the USGS, the Japanese Drilling Company and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology.