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Biostratigraphic data are essential in understanding deepwater systems—at the well-site, and at regional and reservoir scales. Well site biostratigraphy plays an important role in daily drilling operations, specifically: (1) in the selection of casing or core points; (2) in the drilling of horizontal wells by helping place the well path (biosteering); (3) in helping address unexpected drilling results, such as unpredicted stratigraphic section or lithology; and (4) in helping determine if the well should be terminated because it may have penetrated below the objective section.

At a regional scale, biostratigraphy helps (1) place strata in a proper sequence strati-graphic (chronostratigraphic) framework by aiding stratigraphic correlations based on seismic and well log stratigraphy. (2) Biostratigraphy is especially important for stratigraphic correlation in basins with a strong structural overprint (syn- and/or post-depositional), and in intraslope basins where sands tend to pond in middle to lower bathyal water depths (Chapter 3). (3) Combined with absolute age dates, biostratigraphy helps estimate rates of sedimentary and structural processes within sedimentary basins. (4) Biostratigraphy helps in play concepts and/or in the trend analysis of depositional systems. (5) Biostratigraphy provides an independent basis for estimating paleo-water depths and paleo-environmental analysis. Benthic foraminifers, which are sensitive to environmental factors related to water depth, can be tied to seismic data to help clarify topset-foreset-bottomset relationships in expanded shelf margins.

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