Amongst the many challenges confronting the acquisition of towed streamer marine 3D seismic data in arctic regions is the limited operational time windows afforded by poor weather conditions, sea ice conditions, and restricted periods of air gun operations due to environmental regulations.

During the summer of 2012, a large 3D towed streamer survey was undertaken in Baffin Bay, West of Greenland. The full desired survey area was approximately 8,650 km2 and was located in water depths ranging between 280 and 820 meters. Due to environmental restrictions related to the Greenland Narwhal whale migration period, the survey was permitted for only 76 days of air gun operations. During that period the area was infested with icebergs and berg remnants.

Given the time restrictions and expected challenges of towing streamers in proximity to moving icebergs, a number of seismic data acquisition techniques designed around the use of two streamer vessels were combined to maximize the 3D seismic coverage over the primary pre-plot area within the short acquisition window.

In this paper, we will describe the dual vessel acquisition geometry, the techniques used to mitigate seismic interference between the two vessels, and the ice management techniques used to ensure the safety of the vessels and the towed equipment while maximizing acquisition time. These techniques proved very effective in that 7,175 km2 of 3D data was acquired over the priority areas at average production rate of just over 94 km2 per day.

This experience demonstrates that similar techniques may be applied in other geographical locations with short time windows available for marine seismic data acquisition, especially where free movements of streamer vessels are limited due to floating ice.

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