New Delhi: India and Japan will be carrying out joint survey for gas hydrates using a Japanese drilling ship in the Indian Ocean next week, as part of a collaborative operation between India’s National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth and Science Technology (Jamstech).
The announcement was made at the India-Japan Science Summit, where the two agencies signed a memorandum of understanding for joint collaborations in ocean research on Thursday.
“As part of our collaboration in the field of geophysics, we are looking particularly at exploration of gas hydrates energy reserves. The Japanese drilling ship Chikyu is coming to our waters next week and will carry out a survey and explore jointly for gas hydrates," said S.W.A. Naqvi, director, NIO. This is a part of the National Gas Hydrate Programme in which NIO is a participant. The potential sites for locating gas hydrates are the Mahanadi basin, Krishna-Godavari basin, and locations off the West Coast of India.
“You require certain temperature pressure conditions, which mean high temperature and low pressure, for these gas hydrates to be formed and they occur buried in the sea floor. They can be located using geophysical surveys which we will perform," explained Naqvi. Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi listed work on gas hydrates among the top 10 potential areas of research for India.
Naqvi said that it is exceedingly important for India to carry out research on gas hydrates given the country’s dependence on imported fossil fuel. “We have these huge deposits of gas hydrates in our exclusive economic zone and that is difficult to mine at this point but we need to evaluate the potential so that in future these will have to be explored and exploited," he added.
Other collaborative projects that the two agencies will carry out are related to upper ocean dynamics, especially the equatorial current system in the Indian Ocean and the Indian Ocean Dipole, both of which affect the monsoon. A third area that will be explored is climate change.
“The Indian Ocean is of common interest to many countries to understand the science behind various phenomena in our countries. Japan is also majorly affected by the monsoon and the Indian Ocean. Hence it is important for countries to collaborate to improve research in these areas," said Hitoshi Hotta, executive director at Jamstech.