ISLAMABAD : National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) with technical assistance from China, has initiated a project, under which seismic data acquired by different oil and gas companies and other research institutions from offshore areas of Makran will be processed to determine the gas hydrate potential.  After initial assessment of samples, NIO geologists are scheduled to conduct geological survey of the Gwadar and adjoining area. NIO is planning a detailed oceanographic survey of the area onboard Pakistan Navy’s survey vessel, officials at Ministry of Science and Technology told APP, here.
NIO has prepared a Country Paper regarding the gas hydrate potential of Pakistan offshore area, official said, adding NIO has already undertaken preliminary studies of the island that emerged at Gwadar and extrusions off Basal River. The exact location of the island that appeared after the earthquake on September 24,2013, is West Bay of Gwadar.
Oficial said tests conducted by NIO confirmed the presence of methane gas that was escaping into the air from a number of vents on the island,which is odourless and inflammable. Giving details, official said , three earth extrusions also appeared in the offshore area off Basel River Mouth towards the west of Ormara.
“Technically these extrusions cannot be called islands. Two of the three extrusions remained under water, the third was slightly above the water level. No gas emissions were observed from these three extrusions”.
   He said the island that has recently emerged in the West Bay of Gwadar will be washed away by the sea in a few months,after losing gas pressure, adding  the process has already started.
According to preliminary studies conducted by NIO, the Makran coastal belt has extensive resources of gas hydrates which are frozen methane.
   The methane is reported to be present at couple of hundred meters below the sea floor. Many aspects of gas hydrates are being investigated worldwide to understand their origin, their occurrence, the factors that affect their stability, and the possibility of using this vast resource in the world energy mix.  “However, gas hydrates present both scientific and technological challenge, as they are yet to be tapped commercially”, official added.