Methane Gas Hydrate
A gas hydrate is a water lattice in which light hydrocarbon molecules are embedded resembling dirty ice. Naturally occurring gas hydrates are a form of water ice which contains a large amount of methane within its crystal structure. Gas hydrates are restricted to the shallow lithosphere (2000-4000 m depth), they remain stable up to 18°C with pressurization.
- Hydrates are seen as a future alternate energy resource by abstracting methane from solids below the sea-beds in deep oceans and the permafrost regions of the world.
- Gas hydrates are a source of methane
- Vast continental margins with substantial sediment thickness and organic content, provide favorable conditions for occurrence of gas hydrates in the deep waters adjoining the Indian continent.
- Gas hydrates hold the danger of natural hazards associated with sea floor stability, release of methane to ocean and atmosphere, and gas hydrates disturbed during drilling pose a safety problem. So, Safe exploitation of methane from hydrate reservoirs calls for a massive research program.
- Exploitation of Gas hydrate can also help in Carbon sequestration, Carbon capture and storage and Carbon trap technologies
National Gas Hydrate Programme
National Gas Hydrate Programme was initiated in 1997. India is a pioneer in the field of gas hydrate. In accordance with the roadmap for the National Gas Hydrate Programme (NGHP), India has already acquired core samples with the help of the US drill ship JOIDES Resolution. In December 2008, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons and the U S Geological Survey for cooperation on exchange of scientific knowledge and technical personnel in the field of gas hydrate and research. The second NGHP expedition has been planned in 2010 to map the prospects of gas hydrate in Krishna Godavari and Mahanadi deepwater area.