Oil & Natural Gas Projects
Exploration and Production Technologies
Use of Biostratigraphy to Reduce Risks, Increase Production, and Reduce
Environmental Concerns in Oil Well Drilling
This project was selected in response to DOE's solicitation DE-PS26-02NT-15377,
Research with Independents.
Biostratigraphy, as a tool, has not been pursued in recent years, but can help
us in the search for subtle traps to increase production, reduce risks, and
reduce environmental concerns in drilling for hydrocarbons. Biostratigraphy
is the description and study of the fossil content of strata from the stratigraphical
point of view, particularly for determining their time correlation and for inferring
the conditions under which they were deposited. This field of study helps geologists
determine stratigraphic time correlation and infer environments of deposition.
This is to help explorationists sort out the productive sands and shales from
those that are not productive.
Edward Marks & Associates
The major achievement has been to use biostratigraphy to sort out and identify
the productive section from the non-productive section in a basin proven to
The benefits to industry are many. By identifying the productive section, an
operator can drill more intelligently into the target section. This reduces
risk by narrowing down the target for production. This increases production,
because fewer wells have to be drilled, and in a shorter time to find the target
interval. This reduces environmental impacts by eliminating needless drilling
where the target interval is unknown, even in a proven field.
Rock samples from four wells were examined in the Santa Maria Basin, Santa Barbara
County, CA. The intervals were selected to pinpoint known and unknown rock intervals
in these wells. Electric logs were taken in three of the four well sections
examined. The samples were examined both lithically and paleontologically, for
the purpose of knowing their lithological and paleontological characteristics.
A percentage lithological study was made, and a lithic chart was prepared displaying
the rocks found in the samples. The samples also were processed for paleontology
and studied for fossil content. Index fossils found included benthic and pelagic
foraminifera, radiolaria, diatoms, and algal cysts. Results were plotted on
fossil distribution charts, and the index fossils plotted on range charts. Because
of the refractory nature of the samples, some were not as productive as index
fossils as they could be, but because of earlier work the researchers were able
to get enough information to do the job.
By using paleontology, the researchers were able to correlate from the known
sections to the unknown and find similar productive zones in the unknown. This
was notable in the Triton No. 10 Blair and OTEC No. 1 Boyne wells.
Both benthic (bottom dwellers) and pelagic (floating specimens) provided age
and environment information to find more oil. This was significant in the OTEC
No. 1 Boyne well.
By using lithology, researchers were able to determine lithic characteristics
of formations as well as determining the ages of the sediments (OTEC No. 1 Boyne
Current Status (August 2005)
All four well sections studied have been accessioned, processed, and completed
for lithology and paleontology. Stratigraphic reports on all four wells have
been forwarded. Researchers have prepared a final report after receiving a no-cost
extension to the end of August 2005.
Reports on the following wells were submitted to DOE: OTEC No. 1 Boyne-Lithologic
Report, July 24, 2003; OTEC No. 1 Boyne-Lithologic Chart, August 11, 2003; OTEC
No. 1 Boyne-Stratigraphic Report, May 25, 2004; TRITON No. 10 Blair-Lithologic
Report, November 2003; TRITON No. 10 Blair-Lithologic Chart, November 17, 2003;
TRITON No. 10 Blair-Stratigraphic Report, November 29, 2004; SUN No. 5 Blair-Lithologic
Report, December 22, 2003; SUN No. 5 Blair-Lithologic Chart, January 7, 2004;
SUN No. 5 Blair-Progress Stratigraphic Report, May 27, 2005; SUN No. 5 Blair-Stratigraphic
Report, June 3, 2005; CABOT No. 1 Ferrero-Hopkins-Lithologic Report, December
31, 2003; CABOT No. 1 Ferrero-Hopkins-Lithologic Chart, January 12, 2004; CABOT
No. 1 Ferrero-Hopkins-Stratigraphic Report, June 27, 2005.
Project Start: July 2002
Project End: August 2005
Anticipated DOE Contribution: $75,000
Performer Contribution: $75,000 (50% of total)
NETL - Jesse Garcia (email@example.com or 918-699-2036)
Edward Marks & Associates - Edward Marks (firstname.lastname@example.org or 714-891-8512)