Sceptical Chaturvedi asks about gas hydrates

Vol 6, PW 8 (19 Jun 02) People & Policy

SADLY FOR THE Directorate General of Hydrocarbons, oil secretary B.

K Chaturvedi does not share its excitement about gas hydrates. On 13th May DGH boss Avinash Chandra gave a presentation to Chaturvedi about the status of India's gas hydrate programme.

We learn Chaturvedi - appointed secretary in April - was unimpressed. He asked a simple question: how is gas produced from hydrates Apparently he didn't receive a convincing answer and promptly cautioned his colleagues not to lose focus on the core issue: how to actually produce gas from hydrates.

He remarked acidly that five institutes are part of the domestic gas hydrates programme and that it is unclear which institute is coordinating the programme. He then laid down the rules and said the DGH should consult the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research to nominate one of its laboratories as the coordinating agency in place of the present Technical Committee.

Chaturvedi also wants a new "Road Map" for the hydrate programme. In his presentation, Chandra explained some of the activities of the hydrate programme: preparation of a map locating gas hydrate prospects in India beyond 700 metres water depth; membership of the US Center for Research In Gas Hydrates - Colorado School of Mines; visits to the US by ONGC to study the US gas hydrate programme; and preparation of a shopping list to upgrade gas hydrate research labs in India.

Chandra also outlined a five-year plan for the hydrate programme. Resource estimation by December 2003 Laboratory studies to understand thermodynamics by December 2004 Pilot studies for gas production by 2006-07 Pre-production techno-economic studies in 2008