ION Geo – LARGEO JV Optimistic as Producers Target Arctic, Tight Oil

By Pat Davis Szymczak, April 1, 2013

Grant MacRae has been with ION Geophysical Corporation’s GX Technology group since 1999 and is currently Director, Joint Ventures, based in London. Here Oil&Gas Eurasia talks with MacRae about ION’s collaboration with its Russian joint venture partner, LARGEO. ION and LARGEO formed their joint venture in 2008. LARGEO is an indigenous Russian company that specializes in processing seismic data and providing interpretation services. Through its JV relationship, it can leverage application of the latest ION GXT processing and imaging solutions. Here MacRae talks about the JV’s successful entry into marine data processing, perspectives for future business in West Siberia as well as further expansion into Russia’s very prospective Arctic offshore.

Oil&Gas Eurasia: How has ION’s joint venture with LARGEO fared this year and what are its perspectives?
Grant MacRae: ION’s JV with LARGEO has definitely experienced rapid growth in the last year or two. Business is very robust. This is largely a consequence of LARGEO establishing a foothold in the marine market, particularly in the Black Sea.
Our JV has essentially processed most of the 3D data acquired in the Black Sea to date. Key processing technologies available through our partnership include 3D SRME multiple attenuation workflows, anisotropic velocity model building, and anisotropic depth migration. Likewise, I see opportunities in the Kara Sea which is the big emerging frontier play for Rosneft and their international oil company partners.

We are also continuing to be active onshore. We are busy introducing technologies such as offset vector tile (OVT) processing and OVT imaging, azimuthal anisotropy analysis (AZIM), and RTM to the land imaging world. RTM is a robust imaging algorithm and can assist in understanding complex subsurface structures in challenging foothills environments. Our strategy for growth with LARGEO is to routinely provide access to new technology, which providing business leverage in a competitive market.

OGE: Russian majors are increasingly looking at producing tight oil or shale oil to maintain West Siberian production. Is the ION-LARGEO JV involved in any of these projects?
MacRae:  With regard to oil shale exploration, we have experience outside of the Russian Federation market that we can bring to support efforts in this arena. Going forward, we see this as an opportunity to support and sustain West Siberian production. ION can provide technology and workflows based on our experience outside of Russia and thus help LARGEO gain access to this potential business stream.

OGE: How do you translate experience outside of Russia into West Siberia?
MacRae: LARGEO has a lot of experience in processing data and providing interpretation services and products on conventional hydrocarbon reservoirs in West Siberia. ION also worked on oil shales in the United States. So, the next step is to adapt these workflows and combine this with LARGEO’s local expertise; this will be an invaluable combination of technology and domestic knowledge to support companies evaluate the potential reserves.
That’s the beauty of what we do; geophysics and science can be imported anywhere.

OGE: Globally offshore, ION’s GeoVentures ™ division has been quite successful