ION Kicks Off Marcellus Multi-client Survey

ION Geophysical Corp. on Wednesday announced the commencement of a new 3D multi-client seismic survey in the Marcellus shale play in central Pennsylvania.

ION will manage and execute the entire program, providing a proven mix of survey design, planning and permitting, data acquisition using advanced technologies, data processing, and reservoir analysis from ION's GX Technology (GXT) imaging solutions subsidiary. ION has commenced mobilization for the 200-square-mile initial phase of the program.

The Marcellus shale is one of the hottest unconventional gas plays in North America. In April 2009, the United States Department of Energy estimated the Marcellus to contain 262 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of recoverable gas, about 44 billion barrels of oil equivalent (BOE). Economic viability in shale plays has traditionally been achieved primarily through two engineering technologies, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracture stimulation. Lower gas prices, however, are creating an increased interest in the use of seismic data to not only help the drilling engineer "stay in zone" and avoid geo-hazards, but also to help operators prioritize acreage positions and drilling locations, optimize their drainage strategies and well spacing, and better design their stimulation programs.

Bob Peebler, Chief Executive Officer of ION, commented, "Since 2003, we've been collaborating with E&P companies to push the limits of seismic data in unconventional reservoirs to help them maximize their return on investment. We've recently conducted several pilot studies in the Marcellus and other North American shales that have demonstrated how we can help our clients determine reservoir rock properties, such as brittleness and natural fracture networks, and help predict the geometry of hydraulically induced fractures, both of which are critical to well planning, stimulation and completion. The Marcellus program is further validation of the growing value leading E&P companies are capturing from the use of seismic to create a sustainable business at scale in the shale resource plays. We believe there is tremendous upside potential to expand our programs in unconventional reservoirs in North America and abroad.

ION is working with Tesla-Conquest to provide acquisition services utilizing land seismic technologies from INOVA, the newly formed joint venture between BGP (51%) and ION (49%). INOVA technologies to be deployed on this survey include the FireFly cableless acquisition system and the VectorSeis digital, full-wave sensor.

Steve Bate, President and Chief Executive Officer of INOVA, added, "We are extremely pleased to work with ION and Tesla-Conquest to acquire full-azimuth, multicomponent data to meet our clients' geologic and interpretation objectives. Pennsylvania is both an environmentally sensitive and logistically challenging area, and FireFly and VectorSeis are uniquely capable of enabling a safe, efficient and low impact winter acquisition campaign while delivering state-of-the-art multicomponent measurements.

ION Geophysical Corp. is a leading provider of geophysical technology, services, and solutions for the global oil & gas industry. ION's offerings allow E&P operators to obtain higher resolution images of the subsurface to reduce the risk of exploration and reservoir development, and enable seismic contractors to acquire geophysical data more efficiently.