According to Vu Truong Son, Director of the Center of Geology and Sea Mineral Resources, an arm of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment, gas hydrate is the new type of energy in which many countries have shown their interests because of its huge reserves and the impacts on the climate changes.

The new kind of energy minerals is believed to have the reserves three times bigger than the fossil energy resources all over the world. However, it could be a danger to the environment disasters. To date, more than 90 countries in the world have carried out research programs at different levels on gas hydrate.

Most recently, on March 12, Japan announced that its group of scientists on Chikyu oil rig successfully collected the gas from the methane hydrate layer which was 300 meters under the sediments on the ocean floor.

With a special drill and method, the scientists have successfully turned the methane hydrate on the sea floor into methane gas and ice, so as to bring to the surface of the earth. This is an important milestone which marks the discovery of the technologies for exploring and exploiting the new type of energy – gas hydrate.

The USGS (US Geology Survey) believes that the Vietnamese East Sea ranks the fifth in Asia in terms of the gas hydrate potentials. Though the lack of necessary equipments, technologies and labor force still does not allow Vietnam to conduct thorough surveys on its gas hydrate situation, the tectonics and geology surveys show that there are many necessary factors in Vietnam that can create gas hydrate.

Five years ago, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment organized scientific conferences on the gas hydrate potentials on Vietnamese territorial waters. The Vietnam General Department of Sea and Islands has draw up a research program to assess the gas hydrate potentials, while sending staff to international workshops held in South Korea, Russia, the US and Jamaica. It has also signed memorandum of understandings on the cooperation in geology and deep sea research with Russia and South Korea

Vietnam will need heavy investment in the technical equipment, specialized ships, and training to conduct such research works. A lot of organizations in the world have expressed their readiness to cooperate with Vietnam in conducting research on gas hydrate.

Also according to Son, on the East Sea under the sovereignty of Vietnam, there are adequate conditions, including the depth of the sea floor, geomorphological characteristics, seabed temperature, sediment, gas source, geophysics signs, to form up gas hydrate.

Especially, he mentioned the appearance of the Red River, Phu Khanh, Tu Chinh – Vung May, Nam Con Son, Hoang Sa and Truong Sa oil and gas basins.

Son thinks that scientists, after considering the oil and gas exploration works, may divide the East Sea into four prediction areas to assess the gas hydrate potentials. These include the Hoang Sa archipelago and neighboring areas, Phu Khanh, Tu Chinh – Vung May, and the Truong Sa archipelago and neighboring areas.

By Tia Sang - VietNamNet Bridge - March 28, 2013