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Petroleum Geology of Rift Basins in Niger, Chad, and Central African Republic

GENIK, G. J., Exxon Company International, Houston, TX

Ten Cretaceous-Tertiary rift basins in Niger, Chad and the Central African Republic (C.A.R.) are defined and the petroleum geology is overviewed based on proprietary exploration results derived from more than one million km2 of aeromagnetics, 10520 line-km of gravity profiles, 49721 km of reflection seismic, and 50 exploration wells. The data were acquired by Exxon with partners Shell, Chevron, Elf, Conoco, Texaco, and Amax Oil Gas during 1969-1989.

The ten rift basins described make up a major part of the Western and Central African rift system which extends 4000 km from Mali to Kenya. This system is divided into two subsystems: West African and Central African. The former subsystem traverses Niger, Chad, Nigeria, and Mali; the latter subsystem crosses Chad, C.A.R., Sudan, and Kenya.

In Niger and Chad, the West African rift subsystem includes the extensional basins of Termit, Tefidet, Tenere, Grein/Kafra, N'Djel Edji, and Bongor. These rift basins contain up to 15,000 m of Cretaceous to Cenozoic continental and marine clastics. Key exploration elements are Tertiary and Cretaceous fluvial to tidal sandstone reservoirs, Tertiary and Cretaceous marine to lacustrine shale source rocks and seals, with traps in normal fault blocks and anticlinal closures. There have been six oil discoveries in the Termit basin.

In C.A.R., the Central African rift subsystem incorporates the extensional Doba and transtensional Doseo and Salamat basins flanking the Borogop dextral wrench fault. These basins contain up to 7500 m of chiefly Cretaceous continental clastics. Key exploration elements are Lower and Upper Cretaceous fluvial to lacustrine sandstone reservoirs, Lower Cretaceous lacustrine shale source rocks, lacustrine to flood-plain shale and mudstone seals, with traps in mainly faulted anticlinal closures. There have been six oil discoveries in the Doba basin and three in the Doseo basin.

The studied petroleum geology in the rifts of Niger, Chad, and C.A.R. indicates that potentially commercial volumes of oil remain to be discovered.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91007© 1991 AAPG International Conference, London, England, September 29-October 2, 1991 (2009)