Site: Institute of Geological Sciences
Ukrainian Academy of Sciences
55-B Chklova St.
Date Visited: May 18, 1993
Report Author: R. Seymour
Professor Peter F. Shpak; Director
Dr. George N. Ladyzhensky
Dr. Rudolph Kh. Greku; Chief Researcher
Vladimir C. Gevorkian; Chief of Subdivision of Underwater Investigations
The Institute of Geological Sciences is responsible for exploration and assessment of all mineral resources in the Ukraine, whether terrestrial or undersea. These include both oil and gas as well as metals and rare elements.
The institute's scientists study the structure and evolution of geological features in order to make predictions on resource availability. Their work on underwater resources had previously been worldwide in scope, but their present emphasis is on national waters. Their present experimental program involves studying the underwater geology of the Black Sea and recent sedimentation patterns. The Black Sea appears to have significant gas reserves but no known oil reserves in Ukrainian territorial waters. The institute's scientists have found traditional methods of investigation inadequate, and have developed new technology. In particular, they believe that direct observations by scientists are essential, and have developed a fleet of manned submersibles to meet these needs.
One area of research involves understanding the interactions between biological and geological processes. In the study of the distribution of minerals in the deep ocean, the institute's scientists study ecological effects in high production areas.
They report detection (by mixed gas, lock-out diving) of gas hydrates -- a frozen mixture of natural gas and water -- at depths of only 200 m and only 50 cm or so below the surface of the sediments. In the present plan for gas recovery, they propose using conventional techniques to recover the gas in reservoirs below the hydrates and, subsequently, to mine sediments for the gas contained in the hydrates (see Figure Geo.1). One of their concerns is to find an environmentally acceptable means to accomplish this.
The institute's scientists also report finding polymetallic crusts in the Black Sea that contain significant amounts of iron. The Kiev group consists of users, not developers, of the submarines, towed vessels, and support ships used in their research. The development activity is carried out at Mariecoprom in Sevastapol (see that site visit report).
The institute's charter limits the organization to the Ukrainian territorial waters in the Black Sea, which places large emphasis on the natural gas resource. These waters extend to depths of greater than 2,000 m. The institute's scientists and engineers will be responsible for developing gas extraction and hydrate mining equipment for this application.
Greku, R. and V.C. Gevorkian. "Gas Hydrates of the Black Sea." Technical proposal of the Institute of Geological Sciences, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. Kiev. 1993.
Figure Geo.1. Scheme for Mining Seabed Gas Hydrates