Millennium Post

Govt to harness Indian Ocean gas hydrates

To meet the country’s growing demand for energy, the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is developing a high-end equipment to harness and exploit the deposits of gas hydrates in Indian Ocean, a top official said on Friday.

Addressing delegates at the four-day World Ocean Science Congress, MoES Secretary Shailesh Naik said Gas hydrates were crystalline form of methane and water and exist in shallow sediments of outer continental margins.

The gas hydrate deposits would be a sustained source of energy for the whole country, he said. The Earth System Science Organisation was testing the equipment and analysing collected data.

“However, we are yet to test its productive capabilities. Also, efforts are on to harness resources such as Polymetalic Nodules and Hydrothermal Sulphides from deep ocean,” he added.

Nayak said a global collaboration was needed for discussing and evolving a comprehensive policy framework for governance, research and management of international waters.

“A comprehensive ocean policy is required to address ocean governance, research and management as well as sustainable use of resources for social benefit,” he said. He also stressed on the need for a co-ordinated action plan for developing and improving capability to forecast weather, climate and hazard related phenomena for societal, economic and environmental benefits as well as to explore the ocean resources. Describing the ongoing researches and initiatives by the MoES to tap the ocean resources, he said that as part of efforts to produce drugs from ocean resources, the phase I clinical trials for an anti-diabetic compound had already been launched.

An International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography was being set up under the Indian Ocean Global Ocean Observing System for boosting ocean research programmes. At the session, Prof Ola M Johannessen, Nansen Scientific Society, NANSEN Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre, gave a lecture on the topic Indian Ocean, sea level rise and the potential impact from the Greenland Ice Sheet. He said the sea level rise due to melting of Greenland Ice Sheet is a bigger threat than the melting of sea ice.

According to an estimate prepared by Prof Johannessen based on Earth system models, the sea level rise along the coast of Kerala in the South Westerrn part of India will potentially be 0.55 meter by the end of this century. S W A Naqvi, Director, National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa, also spoke on the occasion. Lectures on various topics ranging from ocean services to marine ecosystems were presented at the congress being jointly orgaised by the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOs) and Swadeshi Science Movement.
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