--> --> The Importance of Establishing a Stratigraphic Nomenclature for Petroleum Exploration: A Case Study From Tanzania

2018 AAPG International Conference and Exhibition

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The Importance of Establishing a Stratigraphic Nomenclature for Petroleum Exploration: A Case Study From Tanzania


To manage their energy sector effectively national governments need to make informed decisions, reduce risk, and build a clear energy policy. For this it is important to have excellent knowledge of national petroleum and geothermal resources. Their size and accessibility are key drivers in answering resource policy questions, negotiating private sector contracts for investment, and building an integrated gas value chain. Accurate, good quality and reliable subsurface data are crucial for performing these assessments and to determine the availability and amount of geo-energy available. With any given subsurface data, it is imperative that it is standardized. A stratigraphic nomenclature is an important standardization tool for subsurface activities, providing a ‘geological language’ to adequately describe relationships between rock units. It forms the basis for all subsequent subsurface work and is vital for making resource assessments and informed decisions on exploration and development plans. A stratigraphic nomenclature in essence is a naming convention, an agreement between stakeholders to use the same names and age relationships for lithological units that occur in the subsurface of a particular region. As such, it is an important prerequisite for discussions among stakeholders concerning geological issues, such as e.g. the distribution of a source rock or a reservoir unit. Its relevance is even more obvious in the field of governance. In Tanzania, activities related to hydrocarbon exploration and development are expanding rapidly and the need for a stratigraphic nomenclature is apparent. Because of this, the Tanzania Stratigraphic Nomenclature (TSN) project was initiated in 2015. As the prime stakeholder, TPDC is overall responsible for the development of the TSN, while PURA will act as its custodian once it is finished. TNO acts in a supporting and capacity building role towards both TPDC and PURA. External stakeholders, such as the operators, universities, and government bodies, play an important role in providing essential input and feedback. One of Tanzania’s major challenges is to build enough capacity and knowledge to fulfil the responsibilities of making resources assessments, assessing exploration and development plans, and manage the country’s data and information on the subsurface. Therefore, the underlying project aims to address both capacity building and to provide a solid basis for data management.