The petroleum ministry is planning to start the Expedition-02 of National Gas Hydrate Programme (NGHP) in December 2013.
The NGHP was initiated in the year 1997 by the petroleum ministry and was restructured in 2000. Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) has been mandated to coordinate the activities for exploring the natural gas hydrates, as a possible unconventional clean source of energy for future.
Detailed scientific studies including study of 2D and 3D seismic data and several other geoscientific parameters led to Expedition-01 of NGHP in 2006 in Kerala-Konkan basin in West Coast and KG, Mahanadi and Andaman deep water basins on the East Coast. In Expedition-01, 39 holes were drilled and 21 holes were cored, collecting about 2800m of cores bearing gas hydrate and non-gas hydrate, and established the presence of gas hydrates in India.
Several technical meetings of NGHP Scientists and experts on gas hydrate have led to an intensive data acquisition programme by way of Logging while Drilling (LWD) and Coring at about 20 sites on the East Coast, in areas which have earlier been explored during Expedition-01 of NGHP.
For Expedition-02 for this R&D Project, the services of a suitable scientific drillship is proposed to be hired, which would carry out the LWD and coring operations at the designated sites during the appropriate weather window in KG & Mahanadi off shore areas in East Coast. The drillship shall have onboard facilities for carrying out various scientific analysis and studies for characterization of gas hydrate bearing sediments and gas hydrate itself. The project is likely to start from first week of December, 2013 and will last for about 90 days.
Keeping in view the schedule, the petroleum ministry has also asked the environment ministry for expedited environment clearance for the project. The petroleum ministry mentioned that the project being purely an R&D type of shallow seabed drilling, coring and logging project, it may not require any comprehensive environmental clearance, which is required in case of other normal exploration and production activities for oil and gas.
Gas hydrate is at an R&D stage worldwide. Major developments in research are in progress in USA, Canada, Germany, Korea and Japan. Initial researches for gas hydrate in these countries have been successful.