US-India Jointly Discovers Natural Gas Hydrates in The Indian Ocean

The deepwater D/S Chikyu as deployed during NGHP-02. Credit: JAMSTEC

The deepwater D/S Chikyu as deployed during NGHP-02. Credit: JAMSTEC

Naturally occurring, ice-like formations of natural gas and water found deep in oceans and in the polar regions are called Natural gas hydrates. It is estimated that the amount of gas entrapped in the world’s gas hydrates is far more volumetrically than the presently known volume of all the known gas resources across the globe.

Indian Oil Ministry and the US Geological Survey in their joint expedition have recently discovered very large and highly enriched accumulations of natural gas hydrates, an icy form of the fuel, in the Bay of Bengal. This discovery has surely opened up a new resource to meet the growing energy needs of the growing economy of India. In the year 2014, India and the U.S. had agreed to collaborate and explore gas hydrates potential in the country to identify sites for pilot production testing. This team of international scientists involved in this expedition was led by the Indian Government owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), in cooperation with the US Geological Survey (USGS), the Japanese Drilling Company, and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology.

This is the first of its kind discovery made in the Indian Ocean. The main importance of this is, these gas hydrates are the potentially producible. This discovery in the Bay of Bengal will help unlock the global energy resource potential of gas hydrates. When the actual production starts, it will define the exact nature of technology needed to safely produce the natural gas out of such hydrates. The team performed many operations such as ocean drilling, conventional sediment coring, pressure coring, downhole logging and analytical activities; before arriving at the conclusion of the usefulness of the said found gas hydrate in the offshore of India. The gas hydrates discovered are located in coarse-grained sand-rich depositional systems in the Krishna-Godavari Basin.

Scientists involved in this expedition claim, these are resources of natural gas and are known to occur in marine sediments in the Indian subcontinent. Gas hydrate resources in India are estimated at 1,894 trillion cubic meters and these deposits are in Western, Eastern and Andaman offshore areas.

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