ION Geophysical Corp. (NYSE: IO) launched an approximate 50% extension to its offshore Panama program due to strong client interest and prefunding to evaluate offshore Panama in advance of the anticipated license round, the company said on Sept. 28.

The client-driven survey provides a regional framework typical of BasinSPAN programs to evaluate the geology of the Panamanian offshore, while the new extension provides more detailed coverage that allows E&P companies to evaluate blocks ahead of the expected license round.

Recent exploration success offshore Colombia, adjacent to Panama’s Caribbean coast, has created interest among E&P companies in high-quality seismic data to evaluate the hydrocarbon prospect on this margin.  The expanded program will be approximately 9,000 km (5592 miles) and is the only modern data available offshore Panama.

“The program has been progressing well with excellent data quality and solid productivity, due in part to the deployment of our offshore operations management software, Marlin,”  Brian Hanson, ION’s President and CEO, said. “Marlin enabled us to navigate one of the busiest maritime transit routes in the world near the Panama Canal resulting in a safer and more efficient program.”