Core Labs that Open Doors to the Future: Interview with Diego Ibáñez, National University of Bogotá

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Cores and core analyses are more important than ever as we start to use subsurface pore spaces and structure in ways we never dreamed of only a few years ago. Welcome to an interview with Diego Ibáñez, National University of Bogotá, goes into detail about the cutting edge National Litoteca, which consists of subsurface information throughout Colombia, and is very valuable for work in Colombia, but also in other countries which will use the paradigms established in Colombia as guides to their own individual work and large-scale projects.

What is your name and background?

Diego Gerardo Ibáñez Almeida
Diego Gerardo Ibáñez Almeida
My name is Diego Gerardo Ibáñez Almeida. I am a geologist from the National University of Bogotá, Specialist in Environmental Engineering from UPB.  I have been working for 34 years with the Colombian Geological Service supporting Geological mapping projects in the Technical Directorate of Basic Geosciences and Geology mapping for Engineering, hazard zoning by mass movements, seismic microzoning of cities in the Technical Directorate of Geohazards. Since 2013, I have been coordinating the Bucaramanga GT of the SGC and from November 3, 2016 I became part of the Information Management Technical Directorate coordinating the National Litoteca, a component of the Petroleum Information Bank (BIP).

In addition, a am a Professor of Geology for Engineering at the School of Geology of the Universidad Industrial de Santander for 22 years.

What is the name of your organization and what are the services it offers?

The National litoteca, managed by the Colombian Geological Service, has the function of receiving, preserving, integrating, storing and managing all the geological samples of the Colombian subsoil (cores, dry ditch gravel, wet ditch gravel, side well cores, water and hydrocarbon samples, among others) resulting from hydrocarbon exploration and production activities in the country.

The National Library provides the following services:

  • Rental of public and private rooms for consultations.
  • Recording Core Gamma Spectral.
  • Taking pictures of samples in Natural Light and Ultraviolet Light in high resolution.
  • Automatic Thin Section Scanning Service with the Metasystem system .
  • Longitudinal cutting, tapping, polishing and profiling service for plugs in cores of rock.
  • Sampling for various geological analyses.
  • Integrated System of Remote Sessions for the description of geological samples.
What are the mission and vision?

Mission: The mission of the Colombian Geological Service is to contribute to the economic and social development of the country, through research in basic and applied geosciences of the subsoil, the potential of its resources, the evaluation and monitoring of threats of geological origin, the comprehensive management of geoscientific knowledge, nuclear and radioactive research and control, meeting the priorities of the National Government policies.

Vision: In 2023, the Colombian Geological Service will be recognized nationally and internationally as a leading entity in research and generation of geoscientific knowledge and nuclear-based applications, delivering impactful products and services for the development of the country.

Please describe the extent of the resources that are available

The National litoteca has custody of geological samples of the Colombian subsoil derived from hydrocarbon exploration and production activities, such as:

  • Gravel Samples (Dry Trench and Wet Trench)
  • dating samples
  • drilling cores
  • Waste Samples
  • Wall Core (SWC) Samples
  • Surface Samples
  • Seafloor core samples ( Piston Core)
  • Plug Samples
  • Biostratigraphic and Petrographic Thin Sections
  • Technical information associated with geological samples such as core tomography, technical documents, natural light and ultraviolet light photography, spectral gamma core , among others.

Panoramic view of the main cellar of the National Litoteca
Panoramic view of the main cellar of the National Litoteca
Currently we have saved and organized information on approximately 16,000 wells.

The National litoteca warehouse covers an area of 6,520 m2 and its storage capacity is 395,128 standard boxes for rock cores and gravel, which are organized with a compact semi-automatic Pallet Shuttle system.

The National litoteca has six private rooms and one public room, all of which are air-conditioned and adequate for the analysis and description of cores and gravel, and for taking and verifying samples. Our rooms are fully equipped with stereo microscopes and access to various reagents used for sample analysis.

The Core Gamma Spectral Laboratory has state-of-the-art equipment to detect the content of radioactive elements (Uranium, Thorium and Potassium) in rock samples.

Currently, the third floor of the National Litoteca is being adapted to carry out research projects in the third quarter of this year, with a modern infrastructure and innovative high-tech equipment. There will be a Data room, private research rooms for consultations, automatic scanning of thin sections, Integrated system of remote sessions for sample analysis, a laboratory for preparation of biostratigraphy samples, microscopy rooms for description and analysis of petrographic thin sections. and biostratigraphic in an environment with all the facilities so that companies in the industry can display and analyze the information that allows them to shorten their decision cycles.

What can one do with the information? Who is using it? How? Where?

The project called "Virtual Litoteca " is currently under development, in which all the physical information available in the National Litoteca is integrated into the Petroleum Information Bank (BIP) solution, carrying out detailed cataloging and uploading to the BIP technological solution. of the technical information associated with the geological samples, such as: core tomography, technical documents, foot-by-foot photography in natural light and ultraviolet light, spectral gamma core , petrographic plate scanning, as well as the search and detail of each of the formations of the wells in the custody of the Litoteca Nacional, information that can be displayed in the BIP search portal, in an integrated manner with all the complementary information already stored in the Bank's solution managed by the Colombian Geological Service.

In general, the resulting information, both from the physical study of the samples, as well as the associated technical information, arranged and organized thanks to the Virtual litoteca project, is used by the oil industry (to enrich the analyzes of its own projects, supporting exploration programs ), the academy (for research projects, undergraduate and postgraduate theses, master's degrees, doctorates) and government institutions such as the National Hydrocarbons Agency to leverage its Block placement strategy and the different Technical Directorates of the Colombian Geological Service (for the development of research projects in the areas of geological cartography and in general for the improvement of knowledge of the country's subsoil).

How can one access the different types of information?

Access the information search portal using this QR code
Access the information search portal using this QR code
We have two types of information consultation:

  1. Through an institutional email , where the required information is requested.
  2. As of this year, you can enter the information search portal, through the following link , and make your own query.
What do you have planned for the future?

For the National litoteca , there is a ten-year plan, where future needs are established, among which is to continue with the assurance of physical and digital information, the strengthening of availability services and remote access of data associated with geological samples in custody of the National litoteca, contributing to the development of knowledge of the geo-scientific, educational and industrial community.

The Plan includes, among others, the following aspects:

  • Acquire tomography data analysis tools, SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy), microCT (Rock Microtomography) and thin sections, promoting the use of information through suitable tools for specialized users.
  • Acquire specialized equipment (Tomograph, Scanning Electron Microscope "SEM", X-Ray Diffraction "DRX" and X-Ray Fluorescence "XRF") to ensure the completeness of information on geological rock samples, strengthening services of the National Litoteca, contributing to the research carried out in the industry and making solutions available to the operators for the delivery of the information requested as required by the state.
  • Expand the storage capacity of the winery, build new workspaces, specialized laboratories equipped with technology, which allow enhancing the services provided and support the development of projects in the National litoteca.

Finally, it is expected that the National litoteca will be recognized throughout the national and international geoscientific community as a center that allows expanding and diversifying knowledge, technology and innovation, developing research projects that allow sharing experiences that generate ideas, through the development of activities of the following:

  • Dissemination of the activities developed in the National Library to the student community through presentations and technical visits.
  • Litoteca Encounters, developing experiences of educational and productive value, focusing on publicity for the services of the National Litoteca, establishing national and international strategic alliances, strengthening the dissemination of subsoil research generated by the country's scientists.
  • Creation of the Museum of rocks and fossils of the sedimentary basins of the country, involving the processes of preservation of geological samples.

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