With an estimated 25% of the world's undiscovered hydrocarbon resources, theArctic has re-emerged as an area of increased exploration interest. Despite itstremendous potential, the Arctic poses extreme challenges to all E&Pactivities, including seismic acquisition and data processing. Harsh conditionslimit the weather window for seismic operations, pose extreme risk for in-wateracquisition equipment, and introduce unwanted noise into acquired seismic datasets. Combined, these factors have limited both the quantity and quality ofavailable seismic information in the Arctic.
In 2006, ION began acquiring modern seismic data in the Arctic, operatingnear the ice using traditional open water methods. Over the next threeseasons, ION furthered its capabilities by developing technologies andtechniques to gather seismic data in and under the ice.
ION conducted its first formal trial of under-ice acquisition in the summerof 2009 off the northeast coast of Greenland. The objective was toacquire approximately 4,000 kilometers of data safely and efficiently, withoutrisk to the crew, environment, or equipment. The trial was considered asuccess, with just over 5,200 kilometers of long-offset, high-quality 2Dseismic data acquired without incident to crew or environment and only 2%technical downtime.