WorldWide Drilling Resource

21 SEPTEMBER 2022 WorldWide Drilling Resource® Fossils Tell a Past and Present Story Adapted from Information by Southeastern Louisiana University Fossil fuels are hydrocarbon compounds such as coal, natural gas, and oil. They are formed by decomposition of buried ancient organisms in an oxygen-free environment. Fossil fuels are classified as nonrenewable resources because they take millions of years to form. Generally, coal forms from land sediments, and natural gas and oil form from marine sediment. Natural gas is sometimes found with petroleum, with coal, or by itself. Being less dense, natural gas is most often found on top of oil pools. The term fossil is derived from the Latin word fossus which means “having been dug up.” German scientist and father of mineralogy Georgius Agricola (1494-1555) coined the term. Today, fossil refers to remains or traces of an organism that lived in the past. To be considered a true fossil, a specimen must be at least 10,000 years old. Fossils tell a story to paleontologists, people who study them for a living. They can provide hints about ancient geography and where organisms lived. Surprisingly, dinosaur fossils are found in the Antarctic, mastodon fossils are found in Louisiana, and seashells are found high in the Andes. Fossils can also offer a glimpse of how organisms change over time. For example, fossils of an ancient whale Ambulocetus natans tell the story of how whales evolved back to the sea from land. By collecting and identifying fossils from different rock strata, it is possible to describe ancient environments of different times (and depths) and find areas more conducive to oil production. After drilling oil over many years, it became obvious specific types of fossils are found in layers of rock more likely to contain oil. These fossils are called index fossils because they indicate the likely presence of oil. Petroleum geologists and micropaleontologists look for index fossils in test well samples to make decisions about drilling locations. Foraminifera are tiny living organisms not classified as fungi, plants, or animals. The remains of three types of foraminifera are commonly used as index fossils in the petroleum industry: Haynesina orbiculare, Cibicides robertsonianus, and Elphidium excavatum. About 90% of all identified species exist only as fossils. These relics from the past provide invaluable information to the modern world. Most natural gas and oil formations date to between 10 and 180 million years ago. G&O For more information call: (270) 786-3010 or visit us online: All New! Atlantis-Pro Vault • Traffic-Rated Capablee • Simple installation • Trouble-free operation Ronnie & Crew, Thanks for your great magazine, and all the good things you do for our industry. Your friend, Jon Newsom Newsom, LLC Reno, NV