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High-resolution Biostratigraphic Studies of Step-1 Well, Offshore, Western Niger Delta

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A high-resolution biostratigraphic study of the STEP-1 well, offshore Western Niger Delta Basin, Nigeria, was carried out using foraminifera, calcareous nannofossils and palynomorphs. The study was aimed at identifying the biostratigraphic zones, age deductions as well as palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic reconstructions. From the studied well section of 609 m (1,829–2,438 m), 50 ditch cuttings were used for foraminifera and calcareous nannofossils, while 25 samples were used for palynological studies at 12 m and 24 m intervals, respectively. Standard laboratory preparation techniques were employed for the three microfossil groups. Due to the occurrence of some forms such as Globigerina praebulloides, Haplophragmoides spp, Bolivina scalprata miocenica, Valvulina flexilis and Cyclammina cf. minima, two planktonic and one benthonic foraminifera zones were identified as follows: Lower N18, Upper N17 zone (early Pliocene, late Pliocene) and Cyclammina minima zone (late Miocene), respectively. Two biozones were recognized for the nannofossils and include NN12 (Ceratolithus cristatus zone) and NN11 (Discoaster berggrenii zone). These zones were assigned to early Pliocene and late Miocene, respectively. Other forms include Discoaster pentaradiatus, Sphenolithus abies and Ceratolithus armatus. Echitricolporites spinosus/P800zone has been assigned for the Palynomorph assemblages and was dated late Miocene due to the quantitative occurrence of Cyperaceaepollis spp. Four identified major condensed sections include intervals at 1,926, 1,987, 2,097 and 2,316 m, which have been dated 5.0, 5.8, 6.3 and 7.0 Ma, respectively. Based on the benthonic foraminiferal species and Palynological Marine Index, a shallow marine environment is deduced for the studied interval which was interpreted to be deposited under both wet and dry palaeoclimatic conditions. The findings, no doubt could serve as a template for a sequence stratigraphic model, generally beyond the resolution of seismic stratigraphy.