The discovery was made in August last year by the second exploratory expedition under the government's gas hydrate programme...
in collaboration with scientists from US and Japan, which have separately signed research MoUs with India.
The discovery will boost government's efforts on finding alternative sources of energy and efforts to attract investments in the exploration business.
The discovery will also be a big boost for Prime Minister Narendra Modi who promotes a gas-based economy in tune with India's commitment to reduce climate change.
The report quoting sources in the Directorate General of Hydrocarbons said the discoveries have been made in Blocks 982, D3, D6 and D9 in the Krishna-Godavari basin, off the Andhra coast. These blocks are 30-km south-west of Reliance industries Ltd's natural gas block KG-D6.
Commercially useful gas hydrates are formed when methane or natural gas get trapped in icicles and are found at places with extreme cold temperatures such as the Arctic region, Alaska and Siberia; or below seabed under high pressure of water depth.
The Directorate General of Hydrocarbons is Oil Ministry's technical arm co-ordinating the gas hydrates programme.
Primarily, two main technologies are being tried to free gas - either by depressurising or injecting CO2 which replaces gas in the icicles.
Technology for producing gas from hydrates is still in pilot stage. Indeed, Japan has declared it would start commercial gas production from its offshore hydrates from 2020 after proving commerciality of the technology by 2018. ONGC intends to benefit from Japan's experience and technology by starting pilot production from its discovery from 2017.
The sources put the initial reserves potential of the hydrates at 134 tcf (trillion cubic feet). Even if ONGC manages to pump out a tenth of the reserves, the discovery could yield nearly 13 tcf of gas against RIL's 9 tcf.
The Maharatna PSU under the administrative control of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, is India's largest oil and gas exploration and production company and produces around 70 percent of India's crude oil (equivalent to around 25 percent of the country's total demand) and around 60 percent of its natural gas. With a market capitalisation of over Rs 2 trillion, ONGC is one of India's most valuable publicly-traded companies. ONGC is ranked as the top energy company in India, fifth in Asia and 21st globally as per Platts Top 250 Global Energy Rankings. It was ranked 21st among global Oil and Gas Operations industry in Forbes Global 2000 list of the World's biggest companies for 2014.