Scientists identify potential gas hydrate zone in KG Basin

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kg-basinHyderabad: A team of scientists may have identified a potential gas hydrate zone in the Krishna-Godavari Basin, known for having India’s largest natural gas reserves.

In a paper published in Journal of Earth System Sciences earlier this month, scientists stated that the sediments 450 metres below seabed, offshore KG basin may be a potential host of gas hydrates. Gas Hydrates are ice-like structures, essentially comprising methane gas trapped in water. The gas in hydrates can be isolated for energy purposes.

The paper describes efforts made by experts from the National Institute of Oceanography, National Centre for Antarctica Research in Goa and Andhra Pradesh State Ground Water Department in the offshore regions of Visakhapatnam, Ongole and Pondicherry.

Sediments 450 metres below seabed exhibit characteristics that indicate presence of gas hydrates, according to scientists. “The sediments are associated with gas escape features like blanking zones, columnar type gas vents, large dimension gas saturated zones and surface mounds,” researchers pointed out in the paper, adding that the deposits are concentrated in a stretch of 45 km.

A senior scientist at National Geophysical Research Institute explained that movement of gas upwards through sediments present in low temperature regions of undersea, results in its crystallization and formation of hydrates. Hydrates are formed in regions where natural gas reserves are known to exist.

It is estimated that gas hydrate reserves of India are nearly 1,500 times natural gas reserves. It also believed that exploiting 10 percent of the reserves can power the country for a century. Nevertheless, commercially viable methods of gas extraction from hydrates are still under research, said scientists.