Gas hydrates are clathrates of natural gases (mainly methane), which are captured in water ice crystals. These clathrated compounds have been discovered in sediments worldwide wherever low temperature, high pressure, salinity, and sediment organic concentrations are conducive to their formation.
Recent academic and industrial efforts to investigate and explore naturally occurring gas hydrates have expanded and deepened our knowledge of the distribution and occurrence of gas hydrates in deep-sea sediments and permafrost regions. Globally, it is estimated that about 1,226 Tcm (43,311 Tcf) of natural gas is considered to be entrapped in the natural gas hydrates. Due to this vast energy resource potential of gas hydrates, many countries such as the United States, Canada, Japan, India, Korea, China, and Taiwan have undertaken dedicated national gas hydrate research programs. Gas hydrates are in the research and development (R&D) stage and no commercial production is being done anywhere in the world.
Gas hydrate resources are huge in India (26.4 Tcm/933 Tcf) and potentially represent a global energy game changer if the technologies for gas production from hydrate reservoirs are techno-economically established. Several initiatives have been undertaken by NGHP in India for gas hydrate exploration in deepwater offshore. The dedicated gas hydrate coring/drilling/logging-while-drilling/measurement-while-drilling operations were carried out under NGHP Expedition 01 in 2006 in four Indian offshore areas: Krishna-Godavari basin (KG), Mahanadi, Andaman, and Kerala-Konkan, which established the presence of gas hydrates in the KG, Mahanadi, and Andaman deep offshore areas.
To date, three primary classes of methods have been considered for production of methane from subsurface gas hydrates: thermal stimulation, depressurization, and chemical injection. Currently, there has been limited analysis or field testing of gas hydrate production from other gas hydrate occurrence types, and production from those deposits will require development of as-yet unidentified technological approaches.
The NGHP Expedition 01 in 2006 established that huge amounts of gas hydrate deposits are present in the Indian deepwater areas, particularly in KG and Andaman deep offshore. However, the discovered gas hydrates are not producible with the current technologies as they exist in fractured shale and clay-dominated reservoirs.
Therefore, studies were carried out from 2007 to 2013 to identify the gas hydrate occurrences in sand-dominated reservoirs in the eastern offshore—namely, the KG and Mahanadi deep waters. A key partner in the NGHP, ONGC carried out geological and geophysical studies in an area of about 10 000 km2 in KG and Mahanadi deep offshore for the identification of sites for NGHP Expedition 02 with special emphasis on gas hydrate occurrence in sand facies. NGHP-02 was executed by ONGC in 2015, wherein 42 gas hydrate wells have been drilled/cored in KG and Mahanadi deep offshore areas.
NGHP-02 established the existence of a fully developed gas hydrate petroleum system in the KG basin, and producible gas hydrates have been discovered in KG offshore sand reservoirs. In view of the encouraging results, further extensive studies are being carried out to assess the gas hydrate resource potential, reservoir characterization, reservoir delineation, planning for pilot production testing, and techno-economic analysis of gas hydrate producibility. NGHP Expedition 03 for pilot production testing is planned during 2017–18.
Gas hydrate exploitation is still in the R&D stage, and global efforts for the assessment of viable technology for its exploitation are still on and will take some time for commercialization. Hydrate gas may soon prove to be the catalyst for the next surge in energy industry activity. R&D organizations around the world are defining and developing multiple techniques to explore and exploit this resource as the next addition to the expanding clean and affordable energy portfolio.
Greetings from the UPES SPE Student Chapter!
Established in 2009 under SPE International’s North India Section with the objective of enabling students to contribute to, and learn from and about, the Oil and Gas sector, the UPES SPE Student Chapter has, ever since, hit the ground running; a statement reflected by the three consecutive Gold Standard Awards followed by three consecutive Outstanding Student Chapter Awards over the years. With a multitude of events, conferences, lectures and an international fest every year, the Chapter has a great outreach and an empowering vision to inculcate students into the Energy industry from an early stage, and to spread knowledge and information about the industry which in true sense, drives the contemporary world.
Pink Petro’s mission to Unite, Connect, Develop and Grow Women in Energy is reflected deeply in our Chapter’s vision- to enhance students’ industrial involvement, social outreach, and technical and professional capacity. Furthermore, the UPES SPE Student Chapter, itself ably lead by a female president, Ms. Sagarika Gangopadhaya, is keen on building a synergistic alliance with Pink Petro in order to help realize its vision. Where the importance of Women in Energy is concerned, we lead by example. We understand that the current gender ratio of the industry which we are all a part of is nowhere near desirable, or even acceptable.
Hence, with a team of nearly 50% female members in our chapter, we acknowledge the importance of equality in workforce and we’re here to do our bit to promote the involvement and upliftment of women in the energy sector, and strive for a gender neutral industry. We are thankful to Pink Petro for providing this wonderful opportunity to work alongside the stalwarts of the industry and learn from the people who inspire us and the industry, on the whole. We shall do our best to inculcate a surrounding of learning which will help the community as well as ourselves, to grow.
- Team UPES SPE