LAWRENCE — The Kansas Geological Survey (KGS) at the University of Kansas has received a $46,000 grant to preserve at-risk drilling records and rock cuttings that hold valuable information about oil and gas deposits in Kansas and clues to the Earth’s geologic history.
Funded by the U.S. Geological Survey National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program, the grant will be used to process and electronically archive oil and gas records in the Data Resources Library at the main KGS office in Lawrence and to archive sample cuttings — bits of underground rock broken up during drilling and flushed up to the surface — at the KGS’s Wichita Well Sample Library.
The KGS is the repository for oil, gas and water well records submitted to the state and houses oil and gas drilling and production records from more than 450,000 wells and rock cuttings from nearly 140,000 wells. Much of the material to be processed is at risk of deterioration or loss due to aging and past exposure to moisture and extreme temperatures.
At the Wichita Well Sample Library the funding will be used to organize, archive and digitally catalog sample cuttings from more than 2,000 wells.
“The geologic age of the samples ranges from 66 million years to over 500 million years, and the depth at which they were recovered ranges from less than 100 feet to over 6,000 feet below land surface,” said Mike Dealy, Wichita operations manager. “The preserved samples represent various subsurface formations from all over Kansas that contain oil, gas and other economic minerals.”
In the Data Resources Library, the grant will enable conservation of nearly 3,000 oil and gas well records. The records include drillers’ logs outlining well location, depth and completion date as well as geologic formations encountered and geophysical logs that reveal the physical and chemical properties of subsurface rocks.
Several collections of records, some donated and many pre-dating the state-mandated requirement to report drilling activity, will be made available to the public for the first time.
“We want to increase and enhance the availability of and access to these valuable geoscience and geophysical collections,” said Dan Suchy, KGS geologist and Data Resources Library manager. “Such records and data are used by a variety of people to conduct resource exploration, development, and management activities and are vital economic and scientific resources.”
Oil and gas records benefit a variety of users, from energy production companies and landowners looking for known locations of oil and gas resources to research scientists, students and educators investigating the state’s subsurface geology and natural resources.
After the materials are processed, the original paper records will be available at the KGS Data Resources Library. The archived records also will be accessible, along with thousands already online.
The cuttings will be available for checkout from the Wichita Well Sample Library. A digital catalog of cuttings will be available at www.kgs.ku.edu/General/wichita.html.