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Abstract

Wellsite palynology is a geoscientific tool, which involves real time preparation and analysis of subsurface samples. Analysis of palynomorphs during drilling is used to identify the location of the drill bit in the geological succession, critical for reservoir prediction, biosteering, casing, coring and terminal depth determinations to be made. Until recently, extraction of palynomorphs was only considered possible with the use of highly toxic and hazardous chemicals (e.g. hydrofluoric acid) and technical support in a mobile laboratory, resulting in high costs, logistical problems and potential Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) risk. The development of new processing techniques has removed the bulk of the chemical component in the sample processing and allow a primarily mechanical extraction technique to be employed at wellsite, representing a major breakthrough that reduces cost and logistical problems and virtually eliminates any chemical HSE risk. As a result, the application of wellsite palynology has expanded, operational costs at wellsite have been reduced, the dependence on a limited market place for the hire of specialized laboratory equipment is alleviated and the global reach of this technique is enhanced. The technique has been used successfully at wellsite for sediments of Middle Jurassic to Palaeogene age, on over 60 offshore wells in the UK, Norway and Faroes. Laboratory testing has shown wider geographical and age applicability. The technique has enabled horizontal biosteering of wells, the maximization of mature field recoverable reserves and the application of wellsite palynology to areas with logistical limitations, with significantly lower HSE risks.

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