As per the report published by US Geological Survey on 19 July 2016, Joint expedition titled Indian National Gas Hydrate Program Expedition 02 by India and the United States (US) have resulted in the discovery of large, highly enriched accumulations of natural gas hydrate (an icy form of the fuel) in Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean. The international team of scientists was led by the Oil and Natural Gas CorporationLimited of India 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 discovery of its kind in the Indian Ocean that has the potential to be producible.
Findings of the Expedition
• The Indian National Gas Hydrate Program Expedition 02 is the second joint exploration for gas hydrate potential in the Indian Ocean.
• It focused on the exploration and discovery of highly concentrated gas hydrate occurrences in sand reservoirs.
• The gas hydrate discovered are located in coarse-grained sand-rich depositional systems in the Krishna-Godavari Basin.
• These hydrates are made up of a sand-rich, gas-hydrate-bearing fan and channel-levee gas hydrate prospects.
• The next steps will involve production testing in these sand reservoirs to determine if natural gas production is practical and economic.
• The first expedition, also a partnership between scientists from India and the United States, discovered gas hydrate accumulations, but in formations that are currently unlikely to be producible.
What are Natural gas hydrates?
• Natural gas hydrates are a naturally occurring, ice-like combination of natural gas and water found in the world’s oceans and polar regions.
• Numerous studies have shown that gas hydrates have the potential to provide an immense resource of natural gas from the world's oceans and polar regions.
• However, gas hydrates represent both a scientific and technical challenge and more remains to be learned about their characteristics and occurrence in nature.
• The conventional natural gas accumulations (reserves and undiscovered, technically recoverable resources) for the world are estimated at approximately 440 trillion cubic meters.
Operations involved in the Expedition
• This discovery is the result of the most comprehensive gas hydrate field venture in the world to date, made up of scientists from India, Japan and the United States.
• A total of 42 holes were completed in 147 days at water depths ranging from 1519 to 2815 meters with sub-seafloor completion depths ranging from 239 to 567 meters below the sea floor.
• The scientists conducted ocean drilling, conventional sediment coring, pressure coring, downhole logging to assess the geologic occurrence, regional context and characteristics of deposits.