Scientists believe Sri Lanka has gas hydrates in ocean

Dec 06, 2011 12:00 AM

A top Indian scientist has said he believes Sri Lanka has huge gas hydrate resources in the ocean around the island as in India.
The ice like solids found in deep water on the ocean floor could generate methane gas, a potential energy source, Harsh Gupta told a forum of Sri Lankan scientists.

The former Secretary of India's ocean development department said Sri Lanka's exclusive economic zone should have gas hydrates as India has found by drilling in her own waters.
"I strongly believe Sri Lanka has huge gas hydrate resources in the EEZ," said Gupta, who is also former director of India's National Geophysical Research Institute. "Gas hydrates could become a potential source of energy."

The potential zones where the condensed methane hydrates are found in India continue into Sri Lankan waters, Gupta told the annual sessions of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science. This year's sessions are devoted to understanding, harnessing, and conserving the ocean around Sri Lanka and Gupta said he hopes the island would focus more on the science of the oceans around her.
India has found "plenty of gas hydrates" by drilling in her own waters, Gupta said. "Now we're taking up the process to quantify gas hydrates in the Mahanadi and Krishna-Godavari river basins."

Gas is found in deeper water than oil so India developed machines which drill from the ocean bottom, avoiding the need to drill from the surface, Gupta said.
Another Indian innovation was developing remotely operated vehicles to obtain sediment samples from the ocean floor, he said. These techniques are less costly, he added.

R. Shankar, a professor of marine geology from the Mangalore University, who also spoke at the forum said gas hydrates were ice like solids formed under high pressure but in low temperatures. They were attractive because when mined and brought to the surface they produce about 160 times their volume of methane, he said.
Globally, the amounts of methane bound in gas hydrates is estimated to be around twice the amount of carbon to be found in all known fossil fuels on earth.

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