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Evolutionary Sequences and Hydrocarbon Potential of Kenya Sedimentary Basins

CREGG, ALLEN K., Western Atlas International, Inc., Core Laboratories, Carrollton, TX

Kenya basins have evolved primarily through extension related to episodic continental rifting. In eastern Kenya, thick accumulations of sediments formed within grabens during the prerift phase (Precambrian to Carboniferous) of the Gondwana breakup. Synrift sedimentation (Late Carboniferous to Middle Jurassic) occurred within a north-south rift system, which included the Mandera basin, South Anza basin, and Lamu embayment. During the Early Jurassic, a marine transgression invaded the margins of the eastern Kenya rift basins, resulting in the deposition of platform carbonates and shales. A Callovian-aged salt basin formed in the offshore regions of the Lamu embayment. The postrift phase (Middle Jurassic to recent) has resulted in the Lamu embayment and the Mandera basin developing as a assive continental margin and a gently subsiding platform basin, respectively. Intermittent tectonic activity and eustatic sea-level changes controlled sedimentation, which produced marine shales, carbonates or evaporites, and fluvio-deltaic to lacustrine sandstones. From the Early Cretaceous to recent, continental sediments were deposited within the North Anza and Turkana basins. These fluvial-lacustrine sediments are similar to the Lower Cretaceous sequences that have produced oil in the Mesozoic Sudanese Abu Gabra rift.

Western Kenya rift basins formed during an active-rift phase that began in Miocene and continues today. Significant accumulations of fluvial-lacustrine sandstones and shales occur within several of the Neogene depocenters (e.g., the Nyanza and South Kerio troughs).

Although exploration activities began in the early 1950s, significant occurrences of potential reservoir, source, and seal lithologies as well as trapping configurations remain in many areas. Favorable structures and sequences of reservoir sandstones and carbonates overlain by potentially sealing lacustrine or marine shales, evaporites, or volcanics have been noted. Potential source beds are believed to be present within shales of the lacustrine or marine depositional environments.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91004 © 1991 AAPG Annual Convention Dallas, Texas, April 7-10, 1991 (2009)