Washington, July 26 (IANS) India has discovered large, highly enriched accumulations of natural gas hydrates in the Bay of Bengal that has the potential to be tapped, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), which participated in the discovery efforts.
"Advances like the Bay of Bengal discovery will help unlock the global energy resource potential of gas hydrates as well help define the technology needed to safely produce them," Walter Guidroz, coordinator of the USGS Energy Resources Programme, said here on Monday.
The discovery, called the Indian National Gas Hydrate Programme Expedition 02, was the result of the most comprehensive gas hydrate field venture in the world made up of scientists from India, Japan and the US, it said in a statement.
A previous -- the first -- expedition, also a partnership between scientists from India and the US, discovered gas hydrate accumulations in formations that are currently unlikely to be producible, it said.
Though it is possible to produce natural gas from gas hydrates, there are major technical challenges of exploitation, depending on location and the type of formation.
The gas hydrates discovered during the second expedition are located in coarse grained sand-rich depositional systems in the Krishna-Godavari Basin, while the next steps will involve production testing in these sand reservoirs to determine if natural gas production is practical and economic, the statement added.
"The results from this expedition mark a critical step forward to understanding the energy resource potential of gas hydrates," said USGS senior scientist and member of the discovery expedition, Tim Collett.