Frequently Asked Questions

How does PDI gather, process, examine, and evaluate samples?

Sample Collection

Sample collection is usually made by wellsite sample catchers at 30 ft. intervals, or more closely spaced as necessary.  A reference sheet of preferred sample catching methods is available for download here

Sample Preparation

Primarily, samples are prepared at Paleo-Data’s lab or on wellsite from drill cuttings collected by sample catchers from drill rig shale shakers. Techniques used to prepare and process samples will vary according to rock type, age of section, preservation within the sediment matrix, drilling mud type (water-base vs. oil base), presence of drilling additive, etc.  At PDI, sample quality is assessed by the paleontologists on an ongoing basis and adjustments are made to the process to obtain the highest quality sample possible.  Typically up to 4000′ of cuttings at 30′ intervals can be processed in a day.  Occasionally, for precise sample placement and analysis, PDI will process sidewall and conventional core samples at exact depths. The preparation technique usually involves a four step process: detergent emulsification, soaking, sieve-washing and drying.  Sample extractions are taken during foram processing for nannofossil smear slide preparation.

Sample Examination

PDI micropaleontologists examine the washed residue samples by size fraction under Leica/Wild stereozoom microscopes.  All taxa observed are digitally documented and counted (quantitative data collection), or assigned to one of 13 abundance groups (semi-quantitative).  Prepared smear slides are examined concurrently with microfossil samples utilizing a Zeiss Axioscop or Axiolab microscope with a mounted digital camera at magnifications of either 1000x or 1260x. A minimum of 400 fields of view are examined to ensure a complete assemblage is observed and incorporated into the data.

What is the best way to get samples to PDI?

The PDI lab and office in New Orleans is only a 1 to 2 hour drive from most South Louisiana shorebase locations. PDI provides a sample pickup service daily or as often as required. Dispatching PDI drivers for sample pickup provides a low cost alternative to other transportation options, eliminating lost or misdirected samples.  This assures that samples arrive in a timely, direct manner, and that staff is on-hand to commence lab operations, providing the most efficient work flow for information turnaround.

Rig personnel or a shore dispatcher can call our lab manager, Calvin Gordon, at (504) 210-7353, in advance 24/7, to request a sample pickup at onshore rigs, shorebase docks or heliports.

What is the typical turnaround time for sample exam and reporting?

Depending on lithologic makeup and sample condition, the PDI lab can prepare from 2000 to 4000 ft. of foram and nanno samples per day. Depending on age, preservation and the abundance of fossil content, an individual biostratigrapher can typically examine about 300′ to 400′ of sample a day, but PDI’s coordinated and integrated team approach can typically yield analysis of between 1500′ – 3000′ of well section per day,  providing updates on results daily or as directed.  A lab manager and biostratigrapher are on call 24/7,  for after hours/weekend work, as well as, for consultation or questions.

Who do I contact at PDI with special urgent service requests?

E-mail or call Art Waterman or Ryan Weber  504-488-3711 for all service requests.

Can I receive biostrat. data on individual wells?

Yes, listings of the PDI report inventory are available for download.  Direct data request inquiries, with API # and well ID information, to or by calling Donna LaCoste (Office Administrator) at 504-488-3711

Who is looking at samples on my well?

PDI takes a team approach with assigned team leaders for each project. Through research, in-house taxonomic workshops, sighting confirmations and a structured mentoring program, PDI biostratigraphers strive for consistency in taxonomic nomenclature and criteria.  Ongoing internal discussions of observations among biostratigraphers during sample examinations promote interpretational consistency and accurate integration of nannofossil and microfossil data into coherent unified reports.

What kind of interim reports can I expect on drilling wells and when?

Depending on the quantity of samples received or the type of information needed, results can be obtained in as quickly as a few hours from sample receipt. Bottom hole age can often be determined and reported through an analysis of the bottom most 10 or 20 samples in a few hours with a full workup to follow to provide a full complete report (see sample biostratigraphic well chart).  Interim reports, by email or data upload, include summary of bioevents (See sample), biofacies, and age, with raw data files in CSV, XLS or BWD, as requested. At wellsite, interim written reports are typically provided twice a day with phoned results, or if necessary, in real-time as new bioevents are encountered during drilling.

Final reports include fully integrated biostratigraphic charts with key abundance logs, age-depth plots, lithologic observations and wireline/LWD logs.

Contact us for further questions.


Copyright © 2015 Paleo-Data, Inc. All rights reserved.