The Indian National Gas Hydrate Program Expedition 01 (NGHP-01) is designed to study the occurrence of gas hydrate along the passive continental margin of the Indian Peninsula and in the Andaman convergent margin, with special emphasis on understanding the geologic and geochemical controls on the occurrence of gas hydrate in these two diverse settings. The NGHP-01 expedition established the presence of gas hydrates in the Krishna–Godavari and Mahanadi Basins, and the Andaman Sea. The expedition discovered in the Krishna–Godavari Basin one of the thickest gas hydrate accumulations ever documented, in the Andaman Sea one of the thickest and deepest gas hydrate stability zones in the world, and established the existence of a fully developed gas hydrate petroleum system in all three basins.
The primary goal of NGHP-01 was to conduct scientific ocean drilling/coring, logging, and analytical activities to assess the geologic occurrence, regional context, and characteristics of gas hydrate deposits along the continental margins of India. This was done in order to meet the long-term goal of exploiting gas hydrate as a potential energy resource in a cost effective and safe manner. During its 113.5-day voyage, the D/V JOIDES Resolution cored and/or drilled 39 holes at 21 sites (1 site in Kerala–Konkan, 15 sites in Krishna–Godavari, 4 sites in Mahanadi, and 1 site in the Andaman deep offshore area), penetrated more than 9250 m of sedimentary section, and recovered nearly 2850 m of core. Twelve holes were logged with logging-while-drilling (LWD) tools and an additional 13 holes were wireline logged. The science team utilized extensive on-board laboratory facilities to examine and prepare preliminary reports on the physical properties, geochemistry, and sedimentology of all the data collected prior to the end of the expedition. Samples were also analyzed in additional post-expedition shore-based studies conducted in leading laboratories around the world.
One of the specific objectives of this expedition was to test gas hydrate formation models and constrain model parameters, especially those that account for the formation of concentrated gas hydrate accumulations. The necessary data for characterizing the occurrence of in situ gas hydrate, such as interstitial water chlorinities, core-derived gas chemistry, physical and sedimentological properties, thermal images of the recovered cores, and downhole measured logging data (LWD and/or conventional wireline log data), were obtained from most of the drill sites established during NGHP-01. Almost all of the drill sites yielded evidence for the occurrence of gas hydrate; however, the inferred in situ concentration of gas hydrate varied substantially from site to site. For the most part, the interpretation of downhole logging data, core thermal images, interstitial water analyses, and pressure core images from the sites drilled during NGHP-01 indicate that the occurrence of concentrated gas hydrate is mostly associated with the presence of fractures in the sediments, and in some limited cases, by coarser grained (mostly sand-rich) sediments.