ION's Seismic Results Provide First-Ever Look at Arctic Deepwater Basins

ION Geophysical Corp. announced that its GX Technology (GXT) subsidiary has completed the second and third seasons of acquisition for its basin-scale ArcticSPAN program in the Canadian Beaufort Sea.

The most recent additions to the ArcticSPAN seismic data library, known as 'Beaufort II & III,' provide high-resolution subsurface images of prospective targets in the Arctic region, including first-ever looks into the deepwater Beaufort-Mackenzie Basin and the western margin of Banks Island. These programs are generating a new understanding of the formation of the Beaufort-Mackenzie Basin and are driving revised estimates of the basin's total reserve potential.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that the Arctic region contains 22% of the world's undiscovered oil and gas resources. Leasing activity has increased significantly in the Arctic as oil & gas companies assess under-exploited petroleum systems, as evidenced by the February and July 2008 lease sales that attracted nearly $4 billion in high bids.

Ken Williamson, Senior Vice President of ION's Integrated Seismic Solutions group, commented, "ArcticSPAN is continuing to provide insights that are prompting both public and private organizations to rethink their estimates of the region's resource potential. We continue to identify exploration opportunities in areas already imaged while expanding our acquisition program in others."

Beaufort II data complements the original 6,700 kilometers of ArcticSPAN data acquired during 2006, which covers the coasts of northern Canada and Alaska from Cape Lisburne to Point Barrow, seaward into the Chukchi Sea out to the U.S. territorial border with Russia. In total, more than 12,000 km of ultra-deep, basin-scale 2D data, imaged with advanced processing and depth imaging techniques from GX Technology, are currently available.

The data acquisition phase of Beaufort III was recently completed; 7,175 kilometers of new data from this phase is expected to be available in the second quarter of 2009.