GX Technology Adds Sub-Salt Capabilities to Seismic Toolkit

ION Geophysical Corp.

ION's seismic imaging subsidiary, GX Technology (GXT), has extended its toolkit for processing seismic data acquired in the most challenging subsurface environments, including sub-salt. In connection with these capability extensions, GXT has been awarded contracts by several of the world's most prominent E&P companies, including Cobalt International Energy, L.P., to process wide-azimuth (WAZ) datasets that have recently been acquired over a number of important discoveries and exploration prospects in the Gulf of Mexico.

GXT will utilize its proprietary imaging technology to deliver high resolution subsurface images to help in the highgrading process of exploration portfolios, to optimize well placement during field development, and to refine production strategies for discovered reservoirs.

Two recent enhancements to GXT's technology toolkit were critical in these contract awards:

  • The ability to handle marine seismic data acquired using complex-azimuth (CAZ) geometries, including wide-azimuth and rich azimuth datasets.
  • The ability to incorporate anisotropy in full commercial production across all elements of the seismic workflow, including velocity model building using tomography and reverse time migration (RTM).

Nick Bernitsas, Senior Vice President of ION's GXT Imaging Solutions group, commented, "Wide-azimuth surveys are becoming increasingly commonplace in challenging imaging environments like the Gulf of Mexico. These datasets take the degree of processing complexity to new levels. With the enhancements we have made to our imaging toolkit, we can now deliver a more accurate representation of the sub-surface to our clients in a timely and efficient manner. As a result, we are well positioned to secure large, high-value imaging projects from E&P clients seeking to extract maximum insights from the WAZ and CAZ data they have acquired or licensed in recent years."

To date, GXT has been awarded WAZ and CAZ data processing contracts covering more than 10,000 km2 of acreage (equivalent to ~500 Gulf of Mexico lease blocks) worldwide. The most recent contract awarded to GXT comes from Cobalt, a company formed in 2005 focused on exploring for sub-salt and pre-salt prospects using the latest technologies in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and offshore West Africa. GXT's contract with Cobalt covers a minimum of four imaging projects in the Gulf of Mexico, with results to be delivered over the next 8-12 months.