Japan Drilling prepares final gas hydrate study

Vol 19, PW 16 (21 Apr 16) People & Policy

There has been rampant speculation in recent months about the extent of India's reserves of gas hydrates or frozen gas crystals, or Holy Grail for Indian government officials obsessed with energy security.

But expect a definitive answer in the next few months when Japan Drilling Company submits its final report this week to ONGC on the second National Gas Hydrates (NGHP-02) exploration campaign. An ONGC source confirms Japan Drilling sent in a soft copy by email last month (March) and will submit the hard copy this month in line with the contract.

"Assessing the report will take time," he says. "I've read press releases and news reports claiming different figures for India's hydrate reserves.

But none are reliable. Only after reviewing the report can we reach a figure." With typical Japanese efficiency, drillship Chikyu drilled 42 wells over 145 days in 2015 for $101m - two more than its original contract to drill 40 wells in 150 days.

Gas hydrate core samples were collected from wells in water depths of 1000 to 1500 metres, drilled to depths from 400 to 600 metres. Most were in the KG offshore area with three or four in the Mahanadi area.

Japan Drilling was meant to submit the final report within 270 days of completing the expedition and completed the last well in July 2015. An interim report was submitted in October 2015.