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National Gas Hydrate Program Expedition 01 offshore India; gas hydrate systems as revealed by hydrocarbon gas geochemistry

March 1, 2018

The National Gas Hydrate Program Expedition 01 (NGHP-01) targeted gas hydrate accumulations offshore of the Indian Peninsula and along the Andaman convergent margin. The primary objectives of coring were to understand the geologic and geochemical controls on the accumulation of methane hydrate and their linkages to underlying petroleum systems. Four areas were investigated: 1) the Kerala-Konkan Basin in the eastern Arabian Sea, 2) the Mahanadi and 3) Krishna-Godavari Basins in the western Bay of Bengal, and 4) the Andaman forearc Basin in the Andaman Sea.

Upward flux of methane at three of the four of the sites cored during NGHP-01 is apparent from the presence of seafloor mounds, seismic evidence for upward gas migration, shallow sub-seafloor geochemical evidence of methane oxidation, and near-seafloor gas composition that resembles gas from depth.

The Kerala-Konkan Basin well contained only CO2 with no detectable hydrocarbons suggesting there is no gas hydrate system here. Gas and gas hydrate from the Krishna-Godavari Basin is mainly microbial methane with δ13C values ranging from −58.9 to −78.9‰, with small contributions from microbial ethane (−52.1‰) and CO2. Gas from the Mahanadi Basin was mainly methane with lower concentrations of C2-C5 hydrocarbons (C1/C2 ratios typically >1000) and CO2. Carbon isotopic compositions that ranged from −70.7 to −86.6‰ for methane and −62.9 to −63.7‰ for ethane are consistent with a microbial gas source; however deeper cores contained higher molecular weight hydrocarbon gases suggesting a small contribution from a thermogenic gas source. Gas composition in the Andaman Basin was mainly methane with lower concentrations of ethane to isopentane and CO2, C1/C2 ratios were mainly >1000 although deeper samples were <1000. Carbon isotopic compositions range from −65.2 to −80.7‰ for methane, −53.1 to −55.2‰ for ethane is consistent with mainly microbial gas sources, although one value recorded of −35.4‰ for propane suggests a thermogenic source. Gas hydrate accumulations in the Krishna-Godavari and Mahanadi Basins are the result of a microbially sourced gas hydrate system. The system is enhanced by the migration of microbial gas from surrounding areas through pathways including high-porosity delta sands, shale diapirism, faulting and folding of sediment due to the local processes associated with rapid sediment deposition, sediment overpressure, and the recycling of methane from a rapidly upward moving gas hydrate stability zone. The gas hydrate system in the Andaman Basin is less well constrained due to lack of exploration and occurs in a forearc basin. Each of these hydrate-bearing systems overlies and is likely supported by the presence and possible migration of gas from deeper gas-prone petroleum systems currently generating thermogenic hydrocarbons at much greater depths.

Publication Year 2018
Title National Gas Hydrate Program Expedition 01 offshore India; gas hydrate systems as revealed by hydrocarbon gas geochemistry
DOI 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2017.11.011
Authors Thomas Lorenson, Timothy S. Collett
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Marine and Petroleum Geology
Index ID 70196133
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center