The Bureau of Ocean Management (BOEM) has awarded the first geological and geophysical (G&G) exploration permit for the offshore US east coast to ARKeX.

According to ARKeX, it will perform airborne broadband gravity and magnetic surveys over the outer continental shelf (OCS) blocks in three phases, covering nearly 150,000km² between Virginia and South Carolina.

A full tensor gradiometer (FTG) used by the broadband gravity system will map geological structures remotely and is expected to reveal the location of billions of untapped oil and gas reserves.

Providing a bandwidth and high signal-to-noise ratio data set, the regional survey is expected to contribute to the assessment of hydrocarbon prospectivit, as well as the optimisation of subsequent exploration activity.

The survey will contribute to both the construction of exact subsurface models and understanding of the region’s dynamic structural geology.

"The data will contribute to the positioning and design of future exploration programmes."

Passive measurement techniques will be used during the survey without the use of any energy source, the company said.

ARKeX president Jim White said: "The data will contribute to the positioning and design of future exploration programmes, a responsible planning approach, which ensures that exploration methods such as marine seismic acquisition are deployed in the most effective and efficient way possible."

The new data is expected to be integrated with existing complementary G&G data.

ARKeX noted that the existing data includes 2D seismic, bathymetry and satellite imagery to develop geological understanding of the area.

The survey will be acquired in anticipation of BOEM’s five-year OCS oil and gas leasing programme.

The acquisition is due to begin in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Image: The survey will acquire an airborne broadband gravity and magnetic survey over OCS blocks offshore the US East Coast. Photo: © ARKeX.