ION Expands IndiaSPAN Seismic Data Program Ahead of NELP VIII

ION has successfully acquired an additional 6,200 km of regional seismic data offshore India's western coast as part of its ongoing IndiaSPAN(TM) program. Another 3,800 km is currently being acquired off the east coast of India. The additional data from the west coast, now being processed by ION's GX Technology (GXT) subsidiary using the latest pre-stack time (PreSTM) and depth migration (PreSDM) techniques, will be available prior to the eighth round of the New Exploration and Licensing Policy (NELP VIII) later this year.

NELP VIII is expected to offer seventy new offshore blocks covering approximately 163,500 sq km. IndiaSPAN is a basin-scale seismic program designed to provide a comprehensive regional understanding of the petroleum systems offshore the east and west coasts of India.

V. K. Sibal, Director General of India's Directorate General of Hydrocarbons (DGH), commented, "The DGH is pleased to once again be working with ION's GXT group to expand the IndiaSPAN program. The 17,000 km of seismic data that were acquired in the first phase of IndiaSPAN were instrumental in extending the awareness of India's offshore exploration opportunities and in providing a high quality regional dataset covering the Indian Margin. Given the special technology utilized in IndiaSPAN Phase II West, we expect the data will provide an enhanced look into the western margin from Kutch in northern India all the way to Kerala at India's southern tip."

Robert Pascoe, Vice President, Exploration, New Ventures (Houston) for BHP Billiton, added, "IndiaSPAN I offered an interesting new perspective on the geology of the west coast of India. Illumination of a pre-Deccan Basalt stratigraphic section, previously widely considered to be the economic basement, is likely attributable to the Mesozoic rift-drift separation of India from Africa and offers the potential for an untested petroleum system."

IndiaSPAN II West was designed to image through the Deccan Basalts offshore west India utilizing a deep-tow methodology for better signal penetration and improved imaging resolution beneath the basalts in the area. The program should further develop and validate concepts generated from IndiaSPAN I, including the presence of a thick Cretaceous-Jurassic sediment section and the identification of extensive, compressional rift-related structures underneath the basalts. IndiaSPAN II West should provide additional insights into this newly postulated petroleum system and provide the industry with access to high quality, deep-penetrating data in this region.

Ken Williamson, Senior Vice President of ION's Integrated Seismic Solutions group, commented, "Early processing results of the IndiaSPAN II West data show clearly defined reflections underneath the basalt. The data should allow our clients to better define the hydrocarbon potential of the region. With data acquisition on India's west coast complete and processing now underway, ION is turning its attention to extending the IndiaSPAN program along the east coast. We are currently acquiring data in that area, with operations expected to be completed in early June. At that point, we will have acquired nearly 30,000 km of regional seismic data offshore India in the first two phases of the ongoing IndiaSPAN program."

IndiaSPAN II East is intended to validate the new play concepts that emerged from the IndiaSPAN I program. Key areas of focus include the ultra-deep coastal graben in the East Coast along with the E-85 ridge, Cauvery basin, and the possible salt basin in the Gulf of Mannar.