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OTC-25137-MS

Gas Hydrate Deposits of Krishna Godavari Basin, India: Issues and Poten-
tiality in Exploration and Commercial Production
Vinay K. Sahay, MEPL; Arthur H. Johnson, Hydrate Energy International

Copyright 2014, Offshore Technology Conference

This paper was prepared for presentation at the Offshore Technology Conference held in Houston, Texas, USA, 5 8 May 2014.

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Abstract
Gas hydrate, is an important energy resource, occurring in sediments on the continental margin of the
India Ocean. Quite significant scientific and commercial interest has been generated in India with a 130
m thick gas hydrate discovery in shale in Krishna Godavari Basin. This paper presents the evaluation
results of seismic, logging while drilling, and core data in the context of exploring those issues which are
relevant in the commercial production of gas hydrate deposits of Krishna Godavari Basin. Apart from this,
we discuss the scientific and technological issues and potentialities in commercial exploitation of Krishna
Godavari gas hydrate deposits.
Evaluation of logging-while-drilling (LWD) sonic log data of Krishna Godavari Basin shows an
increase of relative velocity in the gas hydrate bearing zone. Apart from this, the LWD density log data
also shows a relative increase of density in gas hydrate bearing zone in Krishna Godavari Basin. Increase
in relative velocity and density of the zone under evaluation may be ascribed due to presence of gas
hydrate (as a solid mass, increasing overall cohesiveness of hosting lithology shale, present within the
depth boundary of gas hydrate stability zone). The sonic and density log validates their use as an important
tool in demarcation of gas hydrate bearing zones and gas hydrate reserve estimations, calibrating and
integrating with core-based gas hydrate saturation data. Evaluation of seismic sections, however, does not
show the BSR (Bottom Simulating Reflector) as a full proof and conclusive proxy for the presence/
absence of gas hydrates as has been observed from the data of KG Basin. Precaution should have to be
exercised while utilizing BSR, in seismic data evaluation and interpretation, in the identification of gas
hydrate.
Investigation and evaluation of the data of the Krishna Godavari Basin gas hydrate deposits indicate
the potential for commercial production utilizing presently available knowledge of science and technology
for finding viable accumulations of gas hydrates. Apart from the above discussed aspects, the paper also
provides some suggestions which can be utilized and integrated with the National Gas Hydrate Program,
India to resolve many issues.
Introduction
The Krishna Godavari (K-G) Basin is a peri-cratonic passive margin basin on the east coast of India (Fig.
1). The basins characteristic feature is its en echelon horst and graben system which is filled with a thick
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pile of sediments of Permian-to-Recent age. Large


quantities of gas hydrate were discovered while
drilling in the Krishna-Godavari Basin in May-
August 2006 with the research drillship JOIDES
Resolution. These drilling results also showed sig-
nificant in homogeneity in hydrate distribution.
The drilling at Site NGHP-01-10 discovered a 130
m thick gas hydrate accumulation (DGH Report
2007-2008; Collett et al. 2008; Dewangan et al.
2009). Quite significant scientific and commercial
interest has been generated in India with this 130 m
thick gas hydrate discovery in shale in Krishna
Godavari Basin. This paper presents the evaluation
results of seismic, logging while drilling, and core
data in the context of exploring those issues which
FigureLocation of Krishna Godavari (K-G) Basin. are relevant in the commercial production of gas
hydrate deposits of Krishna Godavari Basin. Apart
from this, we discuss the scientific and technolog-
ical issues and potentialities in commercial exploitation of Krishna Godavari gas hydrate deposits.
Materials and Methods

In this study well log and seismic data generated by the National Gas Hydrate Program (NGHP) has
been analyzed and evaluated. The processed log and seismic data has been utilized & interpreted in this
work. For this evaluation, many references were investigated (Ramana et al. 2006; DGH 2007-2008;
Collett et al. 2008; Dewangan et al. 2009; Ramana & Ramprasad, 2010; Riedel et al. 2010; Sain et al.
2012). In this study some important aspects have been observed that were not reported in earlier studies
from data of the NGHP.
Log & seismic data analysis
The logging-while-drilling (LWD) sonic log data of Krishna Godavari Basin shows an increase of
relative velocity in the gas hydrate bearing zone (Fig. 2). Apart from this, the LWD density log data also
shows a relative increase of density in gas hydrate bearing zone in Krishna Godavari Basin (Fig. 2).
The increase in relative velocity and density of the zone under evaluation may be ascribed due to
presence of gas hydrate (as a solid mass, increasing overall cohesiveness of hosting lithology shale,
present within the depth boundary of gas hydrate stability zone). The sonic and density log validates their
use as an important tool in demarcation of gas hydrate bearing zones and gas hydrate reserve estimations,
calibrating and integrating with core-based gas hydrate saturation data. This aspect is not reported in any
earlier studies and references mentioned in this study.
A resistivity log curve indicates variation between zone 1 (50-90 mbsf) and zone 2 (90-125 mbsf)
bearing gas hydrates (Fig. 2). The zone 1 resistivity has comparatively higher resistivity values. The
comparatively lower resistivity is found in zone 2 in depth range of about 90-125 mbsf. The density log
curve through zone 1 shows increasing density values. Zone 2 shows relatively higher and more uniform
density values in comparison to zone 1 (Fig. 2).
Zone 1 and zone 2 both have similar gas hydrate concentrations as has shown in core data analysis
(Collette et al., 2008), so relatively lower resistivity in zone 2 (90-125 mbsf) needs careful evaluation.
Earlier studies (ex. Ramana & Ramprasad, 2010) have shown that gas hydrate bearing sediments comprise
of clay minerals, quartz, feldspar, mica, pyrite, authigenic carbonates, and heavy minerals. However,
earlier works do not show any relationship between pyrite content, low resistivity and higher density
OTC-25137-MS 3

Figure 2Logging-while-drilling (LWD) data of borehole NGHP-01-10A comprising sonic and density logs and reflection coefficients based on
sonic and density. Apart from this the button-deep average (BDAV) resistivity and synthetic trace is also shown. As blue symbols shown are lo-
cations of pressure cores (average gas hydrate concentration from all five pressure-cores i.e. 25% of pore-space). The depth of the base of gas
hydrate stability and BSR is in green (Riedel et al., 2010).

values of zone 2. Pyrite is conductive and has higher density too, so its presence may influence the
resistivity of zone 2, which needs careful investigation in future studies.
Based on an inferred BSR (Bottom Simulating Reflector), it was expected that there could be large
amounts of gas hydrate present (Fig. 3). Along line AD-94-17, Site NGHP-01-03 was drilled and only
small amounts of gas hydrate was encountered in the cores near the base of the gas hydrate stability zone
(Collett et al., 2008). Degassing of pressure cores yielded less than 1% of gas hydrate in the pore space
in two of the cores taken (Fig. 3) (Riedel et al., 2010).
These results indicate that the BSR in a seismic section is not a full proof and conclusive proxy for the
presence/absence of gas hydrate. Precaution should be exercised while utilizing a BSR, in seismic data
evaluation and interpretation, in the identification of gas hydrate. Also, one fault has been inferred towards
the SE side of the seismic section in this present study (Fig. 3). The seismic line reflection amplitude is
terminating abruptly. Apart from this the seismic line reflection amplitude, of inferred BSR, is dimming
towards right left side of the seismic section.
All of the above evaluations have led us to decipher and pinpoint important issues on detailed
characterization and commercial aspects of gas hydrate deposits of the Krishna Godavari Basin as
discussed below.
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Figure 3Section of 2D seismic line AD-94-17 crossing Site NGHP-01-03. The inferred BSR is shown here in the section (Riedel et al., 2010). In
this study one fault towards SE part of the section is deciphered and marked in the section with blue line. Apart from this seismic lines reflec-
tion amplitude configuration shows a mound/diapir/fold type of geometry which has been displaced, due to faulting, towards lower portion of the
SE part of the seismic section.

Detailed characterization issues of gas hydrate reservoir of Krishna


Godavari Basin
As detailed and accurate characterization is fundamental in any type of hydrocarbon reservoir for
successful and efficient commercial exploitation, the gas hydrate deposits of the Krishna Godavari Basin
needs attention in this regard. This will serve the following technical purposes:
Detailed understanding of the nature, type, spatial distribution, and saturation of gas hydrates, with
demarcation of the overall potential of gas hydrate area in the region.
Provide information on in-situ gas hydrate deposits and ultimate recoverable gas from the deposit.
Demarcation of locations and depth of occurrence of gas hydrates which is massive, disseminated,
fracture filled or pore-filled type to devise the exploitation strategy accordingly.
This will help in accurate recoverable reserve estimations, total cost, as well as efficient production
well planning and design.
Above information will serve as a basis for analysis and design of commercial production wells;
either vertical or horizontal, or an integrated horizontal branched well.
The NGHP must include these components in their coming programs for a commercial concept for
the gas hydrate program in India. Otherwise, NGHP will remain a merely academic type of project.
Issues and potentiality in commercial gas hydrate production in Krishna
Godavari Basin
At present there is no proven technology to produce methane from gas hydrate on a commercial scale,
although production technology is rapidly developing with the MH21 Research Consortium in Japan.
OTC-25137-MS 5

Much of the gas hydrate resource potential worldwide occurs filling the pore space of sandstone
reservoirs, and most of the research being done on the extraction of gas from hydrates is focused on
deposits concentrated in sands. However, the Indian scenario is different. The reservoir rock with gas
hydrate in the Krishna Godavari Basin is fractured shale. By comparison, the reservoir rock containing gas
hydrate in the Mackenzie Delta, Canada is medium grained sand in which gas hydrates most commonly
occurs as pore fillings (MH21 Research Consortium, Japan). At the Mallik site in the Mackenzie Delta in
the Northwest Territories of Canada the production test using a depressurization method was executed by
removing water in the well using a pump to decrease the pressure within the gas hydrate layers. The
amount of methane gas produced during the test was approximately 13, 000 m3 (MH21 Research
Consortium, Japan). This test demonstrated that the depressurization method is effective for producing
methane hydrate in sandy gas hydrate reservoirs. The effectiveness of the depressurization method to
produce economically from shaly gas hydrate of Krishna Godavari Basin will depend on the following
aspects:
1. Continuous and complete dissociation of gas hydrates from shaly sediments for adequate flow of
methane to recover all exploration, production, and transportation & processing-related investment
as well as appropriate return, for a sustained business profit, and for a certain time period. As
fracture -hosted gas hydrate is not predominantly present in the Krishna Godavari region, as shown
by evaluated data, additional technological approaches may need to be adopted to produce methane
economically.
2. Gas hydrate-hosting shaly sediment is fine grained so dissociation by only depressurization through
water pumping may not be sufficient and efficient. As shaly sediments are fine grained, methane
may encounter smooth flow problems on dissociation due to the fine-grained nature of the shaly
host rock and capillary pressure influence. As a result, fracturing may be required for stimulating
the methane hydrate reservoir. Fracturing will help to enhance the reach of the pump to extract
water and decrease the pressure, resulting in the dissociation of the hydrates and the release of
methane. The dissociation of gas hydrate may cause increased fluid and gas pressure, along with
dilation of the shaly sediments which may weaken the strength of the gas hydrate bearing shale
reservoirs. In addition, some shale reservoirs may not be sufficiently brittle to allow for effective
fracturing as core data indicates that gas hydrate bearing sediments are mostly silty clay. As a result,
detailed mineral composition characterization (ratio of non-brittle to brittle minerals) and petro-
physical analysis of gas hydrate bearing sediments on overall reservoir scale will be quite useful
and helpful to make planning accordingly.
Apart from fracturing, sand can also be injected during the fracturing to maintain:
a. pores open for flowing of methane.
b. the extension of the depressurization influence/well to much larger area.
c. the geomechanical stability of shaly gas hydrate reservoirs as injected sand may bear the load
of the upper strata, due to dissociation of solid gas hydrate into gas (methane) and liquid
(water).
3. Another option is to select a location for a production borehole, which is relatively stable from
geomechanical properties, from where a well can be oriented directionally towards the reservoir
zone.

Conclusions
The sonic and density log data indicates their potentiality as an important tool in the demarcation of gas
hydrate bearing-zones and gas hydrate reserve estimations, calibrating and integrating with core-based gas
hydrate saturation data. Evaluation of seismic sections, however, does not show the BSR as a full proof
and conclusive proxy for the presence/absence of gas hydrates as has been observed from the data of KG
6 OTC-25137-MS

Basin. The inferred BSR region has showed very much lower concentrations of gas hydrates in pore
spaces in core analysis, so precautions have to be exercised while utilizing BSRs, in seismic data
evaluation and interpretation, in the identification of gas hydrate. Evaluation of the data of the Krishna
Godavari Basin gas hydrate deposits indicates potentiality utilizing present available knowledge of
science and technology. Discussed factors must be utilized and integrated with the NGHP and will help
to resolve many issues. These aspects can be worked out so that a sustained economic business based on
gas hydrate can be tested out in the future phase of the NGHP of the India.

References
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National Gas Hydrate Program Expedition 01 Initial Report. Directorate General of Hydrocarbons.
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Kumar, B.J.P., & Sathe, A.V. (2009). Gas hydrate in the Krishna-Godavari Basin, India. 71th EAGE
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