Geochemical Journal, Vol. 40, pp.

227 to 243, 2006

Geochemical evaluation of the hydrocarbon prospects of sedimentary basins in Northern Nigeria
N. G. O BAJE,1* D. O. A TTAH ,2 S. A. OPELOYE3 and A. M OUMOUNI1
1

Department of Geology and Mining, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Nigeria 2 Department of Metallurgical Engineering, Federal Polytechnic, Idah, Nigeria 3 Department of Geology, Federal University of Technology, Yola, Nigeria (Received April 25, 2005; Accepted November 9, 2005)

Sedimentary basins of Northern Nigeria comprise the Middle and Upper Benue Trough, the southeastern sector of the Chad Basin, the Mid-Niger (Bida) Basin, and the Sokoto Basin. Organic geochemical and organic petrologic studies indicate the existence of potential source rocks in the Benue Trough and the Chad Basin, with coal beds constituting major potential source rocks in the whole of the Benue Trough. The generation and production of liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons from coal beds presently is world-wide indisputable. Although TOC values and liptinite contents are relatively high in the Mid-Niger (Bida) Basin, Tmax values and biomarker data show that hydrocarbons are probably just being generated in the basin and may not yet have been expelled nor migrated in large quantities.
Keywords: biomarkers, petroleum, coal, maceral, Benue Trough

INTRODUCTION Nigeria’s current national petroleum reserves asset (proven) is put at 35 billion barrels of oil. Gas reserve on the other hand has been estimated to be about 170 trillion standard cubic feet. Current production of oil and gas in Nigeria comes entirely from the Niger Delta onshore and offshore. Some exploration campaigns have been undertaken in sedimentary basins of Northern Nigeria with the aim to expanding the national exploration and production base and to thereby add to the proven reserves asset. Sedimentary basins of Northern Nigeria comprise the Middle and Upper Benue Trough, the southeastern sector of the Chad Basin, the Mid-Niger (Bida) Basin, and the Sokoto Basin (Fig. 1). However, these inland basins have continued to frustrate the efforts of many explorers, principally because of the poor knowledge of their geology and the far distance from existing infrastructure (discovery must be large enough to warrant production investments), and for these reasons, many international companies have turned their focus away from frontier onshore to frontier deep-water and ultra deep-water offshore. The sedimentary basins of Northern Nigeria are one part of a series of Cretaceous and later rift basins in Central and West Africa whose origin is related to the open*Corresponding author (e-mail: nobaje@yahoo.com) Copyright © 2006 by The Geochemical Society of Japan.

ing of the South Atlantic (Fig. 2). Commercial hydrocarbon accumulations have recently been discovered in Chad and Sudan within this rift trend. In SW Chad, exploitation of the Doba discovery (with an estimated reserve of about 1 billion barrels of oil) has caused the construction of a 1070 km-long pipeline through Cameroon to the Atlantic coast. In the Sudan, some “giant fields” (Unity 1 & 2, Kaikang, Heglig, etc.) have been discovered in the Muglad basin (Mohamed et al., 1999). The major source rocks and reservoirs are in the Aptian-Albian-Cenomanian continental deposits of the Abu Gabra and Bentiu formations, respectively, which are similar and correlatable to the well-developed Bima Sandstone in the Nigerian upper Benue trough. In Niger Republic, oil and gas shows have also been encountered in Mesozoic–Cenozoic sequences in the East Niger graben, which is structurally related to the Benue-Chad-Sudan-Libyan rift complexes (Zanguina et al., 1998). Within the sedimentary basins of Northern Nigeria, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) through its frontier exploration services arm (NAPIMS) has drilled some wells in the Nigerian sector of the Chad Basin and only gas shows were encountered. The first well in the Benue Trough region, Kolmani-River-1, drilled by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCO) to a depth of about 3000 m in 1999 encountered some 33 billion standard cubic feet of gas and little oil (that has been the only well drilled by that company in that area to date). Two other wells, Kuzari-1 and

227

Fig. 1. Sketch geological map of Nigeria showing the inland basins and sample localities (inset: upper Benue trough magnified). Results from the Anambra Basin not presented in this study.

LIBYA ALGERIA SIRTE EAST NIGER

EGYPT

RE D SE A

NIGER BORNU

TERMIT/ KANEM CHAD BAGARRA BONGOR

BLUE NILE SUDAN MELUT

GONGOLA

ON

200 Km

ZAIRE (D.R.C.)

EAS T

NIGER DELTA

ME

C. A. R. NGAOUNDERE

RO

MUGLAD

FRI

CA N

BENUE

YOLA

R IF
ETHIOPIA

NIGERI A

DOBA

T

ANZA

CA

A
KENYA

Major oil discovery

Major oil and gas shows

Fig. 2. Regional tectonic map of western and central African rifted basins showing the relationship of the Muglad, Doba and East Niger Basins to the Benue Trough/Gongola Basin. Locations of regional shear zones (marked with half-arrow) and major zones extension (complete arrow) are shown. (Adapted from Schull, 1988.)

228 N. G. Obaje et al.

Fig. 3. Stratigraphic successions in the Benue Trough, the Nigerian sector of the Chad Basin, the Mid-Niger Basin and the relationship to the Niger Delta.

Nasara-1, drilled by Elf Petroleum Nigeria Limited (TotalFinaElf) in 1999 to a depth of 1666 m and Chevron Nigeria Limited (ChevronTexaco) in 2000 to a depth of about 1600 m, respectively, were reportedly dry. With this development, it has become necessary to evaluate the prospectivity of this frontier region, especially the availability or otherwise of favorable petroleum systems. At the core of any petroleum system is a good quality source rock (TOC > 0.5%, HI > 150 mgHC/gTOC, liptinite content > 15%, Tmax ≥ 430°C, Ro 0.5–1.2%, biomarker validation). However, other petroleum system elements must include, apart from established source rocks, also reservoir and seal lithologies, establishable trapping mechanisms and favorable regional migration pathways. In this work, we have aimed at evaluating the source rock qualities of Cretaceous–Tertiary sequences in the sedimentary basins of Northern Nigeria (excluding the Sokoto Basin at this stage) as an input to the understanding of petroleum system elements in the basins. REGIONAL GEOLOGIC S ETTING The Benue Trough of Nigeria is a rift basin in central West Africa that extends NNE-SSW for about 800 km in length and 150 km in width. The trough contains up to 6000 m of Cretaceous–Tertiary sediments of which those

pre-dating the mid-Santonian have been compressionally deformed, faulted, and uplifted in several places. Compressional folding during the mid-Santonian tectonic episode affected the whole of the Benue Trough and was quite intense, producing over 100 anticlines and synclines (Benkhelil, 1989). Following mid-Santonian tectonism and magmatism, depositional axis in the Benue Trough was displaced westward resulting in subsidence of the Anambra Basin. The Anambra Basin, therefore, is a part of the lower Benue Trough containing post-deformational sediments of Campano-Maastrichtian to Eocene ages. It is logical to include the Anambra Basin in the Benue Trough, being a related structure that developed after the compressional stage (Akande and Erdtmann, 1998). The Benue Trough is subdivided into a Lower, Middle and an Upper portion (Figs. 1 and 3). Reviews on the geology and stratigraphic successions in the Benue Trough with details on each formation, bed thicknesses, lateral extensions and stratigraphic locations have been given by Carter et al. (1963), Offodile (1976), Petters (1982), Petters and Ekweozor (1982), Obaje (1994) amongst others. Details on the evolution and stratigraphic framework of the Chad Basin have been given in Avbovbo et al. (1986) and Olugbemiro et al. (1997). The Mid-Niger Basin sometime known as the Bida or Nupe Basin is a NW-SE trending embayment perpendicular to the main axis of

Hydrocarbon prospects of sedimentary basins in Northern Nigeria 229

Table 1. Rock Eval pyrolysis results of samples from the Middle Benue Trough and Mid-Niger (Bida) Basin
Sample ID Locality Formation TOC (wt%) S1 (mg/g) S2 (mg/g) S3 (mg/g) Tmax (°C) HI* OI**

Middle Benue OBIC 6 OBIC 5 OBIC 4 OBIC 3b OBIC 3 OBIC 2b MBJJ 9 MBJJ 8 MBJJ 7 MBJJ 6 MBJJ 5 MBJJ 4 MBJJ 3 MBJJ 2 MBJJ 1

Trough Jangwa Jangwa Jangwa Jangwa Jangwa Jangwa Jangwa Jangwa Jangwa Jangwa Jangwa Jangwa Jangwa Jangwa Jangwa

Awgu Awgu Awgu Awgu Awgu Awgu Awgu Awgu Awgu Awgu Awgu Awgu Awgu Awgu Awgu

17.40 75.60 76.30 26.40 79.10 70.60 27.00 44.20 43.10 61.10 18.50 23.80 2.69 66.70 17.40

0.41 2.60 3.04 0.84 3.16 2.27 3.93 0.26 0.19 1.93 0.38 0.72 0.02 4.38 0.08

21.76 192.77 203.84 43.51 207.3 171.54 41.20 18.42 10.81 83.05 22.18 39.58 1.99 164.29 2.49

5.37 2.69 2.52 1.48 2.50 2.31 1.65 19.13 18.12 13.60 5.32 1.23 0.30 1.33 12.49

444 457 452 457 459 453 452 441 445 449 444 455 463 452 457

125 255 267 165 262 243 153 42 25 136 120 166 74 246 14

31 4 3 6 3 3 6 43 42 22 29 5 11 2 72

Mid-Niger/Bida Basin AHOK 5 AHOK 3 AHOK 2 AHOK 1 Ahoko/Lokoja Ahoko/Lokoja Ahoko/Lokoja Ahoko/Lokoja Patti Patti Lokoja Lokoja 2.74 2.79 2.39 2.73 0.07 0.06 0.06 0.05 2.98 2.39 1.78 1.71 2.30 2.30 1.92 2.08 429 425 423 421 109 86 74 63 84 82 80 76

*mgHC/gTOC; **mgCO2/gTOC.

the Benue Trough (Fig. 1). During Campanian– Maastrichtian, the South Atlantic–Tethys seaway was routed through the Mid-Niger Basin and it has been most frequently regarded as the northwestern extension of the Anambra basin (Ladipo et al., 1994; Akande and Ojo, 2002), both of which were major depocentres during this transgression. Sediment thickness in the Mid-Niger Basin is estimated to be between 3000–3500 m (Whiteman, 1982; Braide, 1990). Details on the stratigraphic successions in the Benue Trough, the Chad Basin and the Mid-Niger Basin and as they relate to the Anambra Basin and the Niger Delta are depicted on Fig. 3. METHODS OF STUDY In the Middle Benue Trough, outcrop samples (mainly coals) were collected along the bank of River Dep in Jangwa near Obi/Lafia (MBJJ, OBIC). Outcrop and some shallow borehole samples of the following formations: Bima (at Lamurde: BIMA), Yolde (at Futuk and Gombe: YOLD, MYS), Dukul (at Lakun: DUKL, MDS), Gongila (at Ashaka: GONG, MGS), Pindiga (at Gombe and Pindiga: PIND, MPS), Lamja (coals at Lamja: LAMCO), Gombe (coals at Doho, Haman Gari, and Wuro: UBDJ, UBHJ, UBWJ, MGMC) were collected from the Upper Benue Trough. Sixty three ditch cutting samples of shale
230 N. G. Obaje et al.

and coaly lithologies were collected from well Nasara-1 at 30 ft interval, except where samples were not available or too sandy to contain appreciable quantity of organic matter. Well samples from Kemar-1 (KM-1), Murshe-1 (MS-1), Tuma-1 (TM-1), and Ziye-1 (ZY-1) constitute the study materials from the Chad Basin. The samples (ditch cuttings) were collected based on availability and visual estimation of probable organic richness. In the Mid-Niger (Bida) Basin, outcrop samples of the Lokoja and Patti formations (AHOK) were collected from the road cut section at Ahoko on the Lokoja–Abaji road. Attempts were made during sampling to cut back to unweathered materials, even though in most cases it was not possible to obtain totally fresh samples. Whatever weathering impressions that remained on the samples were thoroughly brushed off before subjecting them to analyses. Samples from all the formations were subjected to organic geochemical and organic petrologic studies comprising: a) Total organic carbon (TOC) determination to estimate the quantity of organic matter in each sample. b) Rock-Eval pyrolysis to determine the hydrocarbon generative potential of the organic matter (S 1 , S2, S 3, Tmax, and the derivatives: HI, OI). c) Vitrinite reflectivity (Ro%) to determine the ma-

250 y = 2.81x - 40.16 200 R = 0.83
2

600
Gas Oil & Gas Oil Middle Benue

500 Tmax (°C) 400

150

300
S2 (mg/g) 100
Mid. Benue Coals

200 0 100 200 300 400 500 HI (mgHC/gTOC)

(a)

50

600

(Av. H I = 281)
500
0 0.00 20.00 40.00 TOC (%) 60.00 80.00 100.00
Gas Oil & Gas Oil

Upper Benue

Tmax (°C) 400

300

Fig. 4. S 2 vs. TOC plots of coal samples from the Middle Benue Trough with the regression equations which gave the average hydrogen indices (Av. HI).

200 0 100 200 300 400 500 HI (mgHC/gTOC)

(b)

Fig. 6. HI-Tmax plots of samples from the Benue Trough.
900 800 700 600 500
Type II Type I

Chad Basin Upper Benue Middle Benue Anambra Basin Mid-Niger Basin

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Middle Benue Trough In the Middle Benue Trough, TOC contents of up to 79.1 wt% (Table 1) and a mean HI value of 281 mgHC/ gTOC (Fig. 4) characterize the coals of the Awgu Formation. Langford and Blanc-Valleron (1990) noted that hydrogen indices obtained from Rock-Eval pyrolysis can be misleading, as much of the hydrocarbons may be adsorbed by the rock matrix. Shaley source rocks may therefore yield Rock-Eval pyrolysis-generated HIs that are less than the true average hydrogen index, while coaly source rocks may have HIs that are higher than the true average. They therefore proposed the use of S2 versus TOC plots; they believed that regression equations derived from these plots were the best method for determining the true average hydrogen index (Av. HI) and measuring the adsorption of hydrocarbons by the rock matrix. Tmax and Ro values in indicate maturity in the peak to late oil window. Plots on the modified Van Krevelen diagram of samples from the Middle Benue Trough show a mixed range of type I–type II–type III organic matter (Fig. 5), even though the organic matter could be assigned to a high potential type III kerogen at the diagenesis/catagenesis boundary. A corresponding plot on the HI–Tmax diagram indicates potentials in the oil and gas phase and a gas phase for some of the coal samples from the Middle Benue Trough (Fig. 6). Chromatograms and mass fragmentograms of the lipid extracts show biomarkers with a unimodal distributions of short and long-chain n-alkanes (C15-C28) with no obvious odd-over-even predominance (Fig. 7) indicating that organic matter were contributed from both algal and

HI 400
300 200 100 0 0 100 200
Type III

300

OI

Fig. 5. HI vs. OI plots on the modified Van Krevelen diagram of samples from the inland basins of Nigeria, indicating a predominance of type III organic matter (Anambra Basin plots were added from Obaje et al., 2003).

turity of the envisaged source rocks. d) Maceral analysis to evaluate the relative proportions of the hydrocarbon-prone macerals. e) Gas Chromatography (GC) and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) for biomarker assessments of the n-alkane distribution, pristane/phytane ratios, odd-over-even-predominance (OEP), regular steranes distribution, transformation ratios of 17 α (H)trisnorhopanes (Tm) to 18α(H)-trisnorneohopanes (Ts) as well as moretanes to 17α(H)21β(H)-hopanes. All samples were prepared according to standard organic geochemical (e.g., Espitalie et al., 1977; Waples and Machihara, 1991; Pratt et al., 1992; Petersen et al., 2000; Jovancicevic et al., 2002) and organic petrologic (e.g., Stach et al., 1982; Bustin et al., 1985; Obaje, 1994; Obaje and Abba, 1996; Taylor et al., 1998) sample preparation methods.

Hydrocarbon prospects of sedimentary basins in Northern Nigeria 231

Abundance

240000 220000 200000

OBIC 5 (coal) nC16

Ion

71.00 (70.70 to 71.70): 0207299A.D

180000

160000 140000 120000 100000 80000 60000 40000 20000 0 10.00

Ion 71 (n-alkanes) Pr nC27

Ph
15.00 20.00 25.00 30.00 35.00 40.00 45.00 50.00

Time-->

Time

Abundance Ion 191.00 (190.70 to 191.70): 0207299A.D 14000 13000 12000 11000 10000 9000 8000 7000 6000 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000 0 30.00 Time-->

χδ H Ion 191 (triterpanes) Tm m
32.00 34.00 36.00 38.00 40.00 42.00 44.00

Ts

Abundance Ion 217.00 (216.70 to 217.70): 0207299A.D 950 900 850

Relative intensity

800 750 700 650 600 550 500 450 400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 30.00 32.00 34.00

27

28

29

Ion 217 (steranes)

36.00

38.00

40.00

42.00

44.00

Time-->

Time

Fig. 7. Mass chromatograms of ions 71 (n-alkanes), 191 (hopanes) and 217 (steranes) of OBIC 5 (Obi coal) from the Awgu Formation in the Middle Benue Trough.

terrestrial higher plants sources or are in an advanced stage of maturity. Pristane/phytane ratios range from 4.53 to 7.33 and steranes are mainly of the C29 forms with C27/ C29 ratios ranging from 0.1 to 1.0 (Table 5). These values indicate oxic mix up in the depositional milieu that frequently changed between continental, marine and lacustrine environments. The relatively high values of Ts/ Tm and low moretane/hopane ratios validate the vitrinite reflectance maturity of 0.8 to 1.1 Ro% recorded for these samples. Upper Benue Trough The formations from the Upper Benue Trough have generally low TOC and HI contents (Table 2), except the coals of the Lamja Formation (LAMCO) and those from Doho and Gombe (UBDJ, MGMC) within the Gombe Sandstone as well as some Dukul Formation samples, all of which have good to fair source rock qualities. Akande et al. (1998) and Obaje et al. (1999) had independently reported TOC values of to 12.5 wt% from the Yolde Formation and 2.4 wt% from the lower Pindiga Formation, respectively. In the Lamja Formation, TOC contents attain values of up to 51.1 wt% and a mean HI of 183 mgHC/

gTOC for the coals in the Upper Benue combined. Ro and Tmax values indicate maturity in the middle/peak oil window for the coals of the Lamja Formation. Unfortunately, samples from the Bima, Yolde, Pindiga and Gongila formations used in this study yielded poor source rock quality. Plots on the modified Van Krevelen diagram for samples from the upper Benue Trough show mainly type III organic matter with some type II attributable to the Lamja coals. The corresponding HI–Tmax diagram indicates some potential between oil and gas with gas dominating. Majority of the samples fall into fields that have no hydrocarbon generative potential (Fig. 6). The Lamja and Gombe coals are of special attention, especially the Lamja which yielded the highest amount of soluble organic matter during solvent extraction. Biomarkers show a dominance of both short and longchain n-alkanes (C14-C 31) with negligible OEP. Pristane/ phytane ratios range from 0.84 in the Pindiga Formation to 6.65 in the Lamja coals. C27/C29 ratios range from as low as 0.2 in the Lamja coal to 1.9 in the Pindiga Formation (Table 5) indicating rapidly changing depositional conditions. The very low Ts/Tm ratio (0.03) and the moderate moretane/hopane ratio (0.18) validate the maturity level of 0.70–0.73% Ro. Organic petrologic studies show moderate to high contents of liptinite macerals for most of the coal samples from the Benue Trough (up to 40% in the Lamja Formation). The liptinites comprise mainly resinite, sporinite, cutinite and bituminite from which the abundant micrinite macerals in all the coal samples must have been generated. The origin, nature and significance of micrinite maceral to oil and gas generation have attracted much attention. In a detailed study on the genesis of micrinite, Teichmüeller and Wolf (1977) concluded that it is related to liptinites (although micrinite comes under the inertinite maceral group), and may have been generated from them (liptinites); pointing out that it appears first in the bituminous coal stage as a product of the coalification of liptinites, especially bituminite, with a close link to the generation of petroleum. Taylor and Liu (1989), however, are of the opinion that although micrinite is more common in bituminous coals, it occurs also in sub-bituminous coals (confirmed in this study), within an overall Ro range of 0.3–1.3%. The amount and density increased with rank and was thus inferred that oil generation proceeds over a considerable range at varying rates. The concentration of micrinite particles may thus offer a useful means of trailing the process of hydrocarbon generation and expulsion within the Benue Trough. Nasara-1 Well (Gongola Basin, Upper Benue Trough) Table 3 shows Rock-Eval pyrolysis results for samples from well Nasara-1. The TOC contents are generally poor to fair with a slight trend of decreasing values with depth (Fig. 8). However, at depths of 4,710–4,770 ft, very high

232 N. G. Obaje et al.

Relative intensity

nC25

Table 2. Rock Eval data of samples from the Upper Benue Trough
Sample ID Locality Formation TOC (wt%) 2.63 1.26 1.05 0.96 0.83 0.92 20.20 6.84 0.12 3.43 51.10 50.70 0.07 0.07 0.61 0.34 0.36 0.72 0.53 0.91 0.45 0.55 0.53 0.52 0.59 0.09 0.16 0.42 0.50 0.37 0.71 0.12 0.23 0.07 0.64 0.47 0.52 0.57 0.30 0.21 0.05 0.12 0.30 0.35 0.07 S1 (mg/g) 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.62 0.13 0.08 1.47 2.15 S2 (mg/g) 0.06 0.05 0.03 0.03 0.03 0.03 35.95 12.01 9.62 91.70 93.25 S3 (mg/g) 2.60 0.67 0.43 0.43 0.47 0.47 10.53 5.08 1.58 14.15 12.62 Tmax (°C) 511 515 310 502 300 282 423 429 432 438 438 HI* OI**

UBWJ 2 UBWJ 1 UBHJ 4 UBHJ 3 UBHJ 2 UBHJ 1 UBDJ 2 UBDJ 1 MGMS 1 MGMC 3 LAMCO 7 LAMCO 1 MFS 3 MFS 1 DUKL 8 DUKL 5 DUKL 3 DUKL 1 MDS 13 MDS 11 MDS 4 GONG 4 GONG 3 GONG 2 GONG 1 MGS 24 MGS 7 MGS 5 MGS 2 MGS 1 PIND 10 PIND 1 MPS 77 MPS 74 MPS 72 MPS 70 MPS 63 MPS 50 MPS 20 MYS 3 MYS 2 YOLD 6 YOLD 4 YOLD 2 BIMA5

Wuro Wuro H/Gari H/Gari H/Gari H/Gari Doho Doho H/Gari H/Gari Lamja Lamja Fika Fika Lakun Lakun Lakun Lakun Lakun Lakun Lakun Ashaka Ashaka Ashaka Ashaka Ashaka Ashaka Ashaka Ashaka Ashaka Pindiga Pindiga Gombe Gombe Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Gombe Gombe Futuk Futuk Futuk Bambam

Gombe Gombe Gombe Gombe Gombe Gombe Gombe Gombe Gombe Gombe Lamja Lamja Fika Fika Dukul Dukul Dukul Dukul Dukul Dukul Dukul Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Yolde Yolde Yolde Yolde Yolde Bima

2 4 3 3 4 3 178 176 280 179 184

99 53 35 45 57 51 52 74 46 28 25

0.02 0.01 0.01 0.03 0.01 0.02 0.01 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.02

0.27 0.05 0.10 0.46 0.09 0.26 0.10 0.14 0.08 0.09 0.12

0.18 0.83 0.17 0.20 0.39 0.60 0.36 0.33 0.32 0.26 0.35

429 429 436 433 434 432 435 421 417 420 419

45 15 28 64 17 28 22 26 15 17 20

30 242 47 28 74 66 81 61 61 50 60

0.01 0.01 0.01 0.02 0.01 0.02 0.01 0.02 0.02 0.06 0.01

0.06 0.11 0.15 0.22 0.02 0.21 0.15 0.20 0.20 0.08 0.13

0.34 0.22 0.64 0.36 0.32 0.33 0.28 0.27 0.34 0.31 0.51

421 423 425 418 276 421 419 417 421 421 424

14 22 40 31 0 9 33 32 38 35 26 62

81 44 171 51 0 139 52 59 52 60 102 242

0.01 0.01

0.08 0.11

0.19 0.12

437 438

26 31

63 34

*mgHC/gTOC; **mgCO2/gTOC.

TOC contents (52.1–55.2 wt%), characteristic of coals, were recorded. Coals in the Upper Benue Trough have hitherto been known to occur only in the Lamja Formation and in the Gombe Sandstone (e.g., Carter et al., 1963; Obaje et al., 1999). Since the youngest stratum penetrated by well Nasara-1 is the Pindiga Formation, these coals probably occur in the Yolde Formation or Bima Sandstone. This is the first report of a coal in either the Pindiga, Yolde or Bima Formations. The precise formation in

which the coals occur has not yet been determined. Neither is it clear how many similar coal intervals may occur deeper in as-yet unpenetrated sections. With the exception of the high TOC contents in the coaly interval, none of the other recorded TOC values exceeded 1%; about one-half of them ranged between 0.50 and 0.87% (Table 3). Hydrogen indices (HIs) are also low and the highest value, apart from those in the coaly interval, was 160 mgHC/gTOC. Within the coaly interval by

Hydrocarbon prospects of sedimentary basins in Northern Nigeria 233

NASARA-1 TOC (wt%)
0.01 0 0.10 1.0 0.5 10 100 0

1.4
HI (mgHC/gTOC)
200 400

Tmax (°C)
600 400 420 440 460 480 500 520

1.2 1.0 y = 0.45x + 0.01 R2 = 0.17

Oil and Gas

Gas

Oil

500

1000

S2 (mg/g)

0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2

1500

0.0 0.00

(Av. HI = 45)
0.20 0.40 0.60 0.80 1.00

2000

(a)
Gas source

TOC (wt%)

2500

Depth (ft)

390 370 350 y = 3.66x + 111.16 R2 = 0.51

3000

3500

Gas source

4000

S2 (mg/g)

330 310 290 270 250

4500

(Av. HI = 366)
52.00 52.50 53.00 53.50 54.00 54.50 55.00 55.50

Oil source + Migrated oil

51.50

5000

Gas source

(b)

TOC (wt%)

5500

6000

Fig. 9. S2 vs. TOC plots of (a) shaley/siliciclastic and (b) coaly samples from Nasara-1 well with the regression equations which give the true average hydrogen indices (Av. HI).
Conventional begin of hydrocarbon generation Beginning of hydrocarbon generation in coaly source rocks

Fig. 8. TOC-HI-Tmax variations and hydrocarbon generation potentials with depth in Nasara-1 well (note: hydrocarbons generated must migrate and be trapped; therefore intervals indicated as gas or oil source refer to generative potential only).

contrast, HI values range from 564 to 589 mgHC/gTOC. Tmax values increase gradually with depth up to about 3,000 ft; thereafter, they show little discernible trend, although a very high value of 514°C was recorded at the bottom of the well. The thermal maturity represented by Tmax of 423– 428°C for the coals equates to a vitrinite reflectance (Ro) of about 0.56–0.58%, which in turn corresponds to subbituminous A coals (Stach et al., 1982; Taylor et al., 1998). We note here and also in Obaje et al. (2004) that the maturities of coals are generally lower than those in the underlying and directly overlying shaley intervals. However the reason for this is not yet understood. An assessment of the HI versus OI for well Nasara-1 samples indicates that organic matter is predominantly of Type III kerogen, except in the coaly interval where Type I kerogen is present. Juxtaposition of the HI versus Tmax indicates that the shale samples have only gas-generative potential, whereas the coal samples had oil-generating potential. Peters (1986) suggested that at a thermal maturity equivalent to vitrinite reflectance of 0.6% (Tmax 435°C),
234 N. G. Obaje et al.

rocks with HI above 300 mgHC/gTOC will produce oil; those with HI between 300 and 150 will produce oil and gas; those with HI between 150 and 50 will produce only gas; and those with HI less than 50 are inert. However, Sykes and Snowdon (2002) proposed that coaly source rocks are sufficiently different from marine and lacustrine source rocks in their organic matter characteristics to warrant separate guidelines for their assessment based on Rock-Eval pyrolysis. Using data from some New Zealand coals, they concluded that the threshold for oil generation in coals occurs at Tmax of 420–430°C (Ro 0.55–0.6%), and the threshold for oil expulsion is at Tmax 430–440°C (Ro 0.65–0.85%). A plot of S2 vs. TOC for shaley rocks in well Nasara1 gave an average HI value of 45 mgHC/gTOC (Fig. 9a); the HI was 366 mgHC/gTOC for the coaly rocks (Fig. 9b). It should be noted that the average hydrogen index of 45 mgHC/gTOC in Figure 9a is not reliable because of the high scatter of the points (the regression coefficient is 0.17). In this case, the Rock-Eval pyrolysisgenerated hydrogen indices in Table 3 are more reliable. The only evidence for assigning the interval 4710– 4770 ft to a coaly lithology is the high TOC values. All the other data (HIs, Pr/Ph ratios, C28 steranes) point to a lacustrine source rock. Equally, because no lacustrine source rocks have such high TOC contents, and in the absence of petrographic data at the moment, we assume that some oils generated from a probably deeper seated

Table 3. Rock Eval pyrolysis data of samples from Nasara-1-well
Sample ID NAS-1 NAS-2 NAS-3 NAS-4 NAS-5 NAS-6 NAS-7 NAS-8 NAS-9 NAS-10 NAS-11 NAS-12 NAS-13 NAS-14 NAS-15 NAS-16 NAS-17 NAS-18 NAS-19 NAS-20 NAS-21 NAS-22 NAS-23 NAS-24 NAS-25 NAS-26 NAS-27 NAS-28 NAS-29 NAS-30 NAS-31 NAS-32 NAS-33 NAS-34 NAS-35 NAS-36 NAS-37 NAS-38 NAS-39 NAS-40 NAS-42 NAS-43 NAS-44 NAS-45 NAS-46 NAS-47 NAS-48 NAS-49 NAS-50 NAS-51 NAS-52 NAS-53 NAS-54 NAS-55 NAS-56 NAS-57 NAS-58 NAS-59 NAS-60 NAS-61 NAS-62 NAS-63 NAS-64 Formation Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Pindiga Yolde? Yolde? Yolde? Yolde? Yolde? Yolde? Yolde? Yolde? Bima? Bima? Bima? Bima? Bima? Bima? Bima? Bima? Bima? Bima? Bima? Bima? Bima? Bima? Bima? Bima? Bima? Bima? Bima? Bima? Bima? Bima? Bima? Bima? Bima? TOC (wt%) 0.67 0.87 0.65 0.63 0.55 0.51 0.64 0.58 0.66 0.58 0.46 0.45 0.51 0.56 0.57 0.55 0.59 0.53 0.48 0.50 0.44 0.44 0.45 0.40 0.54 0.59 0.59 0.46 0.50 0.53 0.75 0.71 0.58 0.59 0.59 0.69 0.87 0.55 0.24 0.25 0.38 0.49 0.17 0.30 0.23 0.21 0.21 0.35 0.13 0.13 0.33 52.70 55.20 52.10 0.51 0.18 0.30 0.15 0.25 0.21 0.37 0.10 0.29 S1 (mg/g) 0.01 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.00 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.02 0.02 0.03 0.03 0.03 0.01 0.02 0.02 0.05 0.02 0.01 0.00 0.07 0.02 0.01 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.06 20.56 22.60 18.10 0.04 0.01 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.06 0.01 0.00 S2 (mg/g) 0.12 0.29 0.20 0.14 0.08 0.08 0.16 0.11 0.10 0.11 0.10 0.08 0.10 0.13 0.14 0.15 0.15 0.13 0.14 0.14 0.10 0.11 0.09 0.09 0.14 0.14 0.17 0.16 0.26 0.30 0.58 0.48 0.33 0.29 0.31 0.24 1.23 0.70 0.12 0.13 0.61 0.21 0.11 0.26 0.15 0.17 0.17 0.39 0.10 0.08 0.39 297.44 314.29 306.91 0.68 0.10 0.21 0.08 0.07 0.08 0.23 0.04 0.00 S3 (mg/g) 0.40 0.67 0.31 0.41 0.34 0.34 0.36 0.34 0.25 0.38 0.36 0.37 0.34 0.57 0.44 0.56 0.39 0.57 0.47 0.47 0.35 0.46 0.31 0.37 0.55 0.31 0.51 0.51 0.48 0.55 0.40 0.53 0.63 0.45 0.52 0.52 0.44 0.52 0.48 0.39 0.76 0.41 0.45 0.55 0.62 0.49 0.43 0.52 0.35 0.30 0.48 10.13 11.18 10.87 0.48 0.45 0.37 0.36 0.36 0.38 0.43 0.38 0.30 Tmax (°C) 419 420 420 420 421 423 421 423 424 424 427 426 424 420 421 424 420 424 423 423 424 424 425 426 422 419 420 426 429 427 430 433 432 433 427 428 437 442 445 445 414 463 441 442 443 435 437 432 444 444 426 427 428 423 425 440 446 444 484 466 456 457 514 HI* 18 33 31 22 15 16 25 19 15 19 22 18 20 23 24 27 26 25 29 28 23 25 20 22 26 24 29 35 52 57 77 68 57 50 52 35 142 128 50 52 160 43 63 86 65 81 79 113 78 61 119 564 569 589 134 56 70 54 28 38 62 42 21 OI** 60 77 48 65 62 67 57 59 38 65 78 82 67 102 77 102 66 108 98 93 79 104 69 92 102 53 86 110 96 104 53 75 108 77 88 75 51 95 201 156 199 84 259 182 270 233 201 151 273 229 146 19 20 21 94 253 124 242 145 182 116 399 104 Depth (ft) 360 390 420 450 480 510 540 570 600 630 660 690 720 750 780 810 840 870 900 930 960 990 1020 1050 1080 1110 1140 1170 1200 1230 1320 1350 1380 1410 1440 1500 2070 2520 2970 3090 3720 3870 4050 4080 4110 4140 4230 4320 4350 4650 4680 4710 4740 4770 4920 4980 5040 5250 5280 5310 5340 5430 5760

*mgHC/gTOC; **mgCO2/gTOC.

Hydrocarbon prospects of sedimentary basins in Northern Nigeria 235

Table 4. Rock Eval pyrolysis data of samples from the Chad Basin (the last set of figures on the sample ID refers to the depth in meters)
Sample ID Locality Formation TOC (wt%) 1.13 1.11 0.60 0.86 0.80 0.76 0.72 0.77 0.72 0.59 0.96 0.89 0.78 0.96 0.97 1.05 0.69 0.83 0.66 0.79 0.69 0.55 0.78 0.33 0.93 0.79 0.57 0.92 0.69 0.77 0.60 0.92 0.37 0.71 0.66 1.07 0.72 0.59 0.34 0.23 0.35 0.67 0.84 S1 (mg/g) 0.03 0.02 0.01 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.04 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.03 0.04 0.04 0.03 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.01 0.05 0.02 0.03 0.02 0.03 0.03 0.06 0.15 0.02 0.02 0.06 0.03 0.06 0.02 0.01 0.02 0.02 0.12 S2 (mg/g) 0.84 0.43 0.22 0.32 0.20 0.22 0.12 0.18 0.64 0.08 0.22 0.23 0.21 0.69 0.84 0.38 0.21 0.27 0.07 0.04 0.04 0.02 0.02 0.10 0.31 0.28 0.15 0.24 0.11 0.09 0.10 0.33 0.22 0.54 0.32 1.34 0.61 0.34 0.15 0.09 0.12 0.26 1.04 S3 (mg/g) 0.39 0.44 0.42 0.45 0.55 1.03 0.75 0.59 1.24 0.75 0.74 0.54 0.61 0.46 0.54 0.67 0.81 0.57 0.61 0.93 0.96 0.73 0.82 0.64 0.41 0.42 0.54 0.59 0.57 0.42 0.56 0.62 0.57 0.50 0.55 0.50 0.55 1.13 0.69 0.38 0.48 0.59 0.80 Tmax (°C) 435 433 434 437 440 431 441 438 447 437 419 421 429 435 439 437 438 443 444 330 322 311 330 429 431 441 445 446 440 452 443 451 290 431 430 442 441 457 457 452 482 437 448 HI* OI**

KM-1 680 KM-1-770 KM-1-855 KM-1-975 KM-1-1070 KM-1-1290 KM-1-1385 KM-1-1480 KM-1-1620 KM-1-1720 MS-1-640 MS-1-735 MS-1-820 MS-1-1005 MS-1-1155 MS-1-1260 MS-1-1365 MS-1-1440 MS-1-2035 MS-1-2375 MS-1-2445 MS-1-2515 MS-1-2755 TM-1-935 TM-1-1125 TM-1-1515 TM-1-1685 TM-1-1780 TM-1-1810 TM-1-1985 TM-1-2285 TM-S-2285 TM-12605 ZY-1-885 ZY-1-990 ZY-1-1210 ZY-1-1325 ZY-1-1880 ZY-1-2085 ZY-1-2205 ZY-1-2405 ZY-1-2685 ZY-1-2840

Kemar-1 well Kemar-1-well Kemar-1-well Kemar-1-well Kemar-1-well Kemar-1-well Kemar-1-well Kemar-1-well Kemar-1-well Kemar-1-well Murshe-1-well Murshe-1-well Murshe-1-well Murshe-1-well Murshe-1-well Murshe-1-well Murshe-1-well Murshe-1-well Murshe-1-well Murshe-1-well Murshe-1-well Murshe-1-well Murshe-1-well Tuma-1-well Tuma-1-well Tuma-1-well Tuma-1-well Tuma-1-well Tuma-1-well Tuma-1-well Tuma-1-well Tuma-1-well Tuma-1-well Ziye-1-well Ziye-1-well Ziye-1-well Ziye-1-well Ziye-1-well Ziye-1-well Ziye-1-well Ziye-1-well Ziye-1-well Ziye-1-well

Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila

74 39 37 37 25 29 17 23 90 14 23 26 27 72 87 36 31 32 11 5 6 4 3 31 33 35 27 26 16 12 17 36 59 76 48 125 85 58 44 39 35 39 124

35 40 70 52 69 136 105 76 173 128 77 61 78 48 56 64 118 68 93 118 139 133 105 197 44 53 95 64 83 55 93 68 152 71 83 47 77 192 204 166 139 88 96

*mgHC/gTOC; **mgCO2/gTOC.

or laterally located (yet to be identified) lacustrine source rock must have migrated and adsorbed into the coaly facies, which were later intermittently subjected to anoxic to suboxic biodegradation processes. It is therefore assumed that a coaly source rock is present into which also some oils from a lacustrine source have migrated. Chad Basin Eighty percent of the shale samples from the Chad
236 N. G. Obaje et al.

Basin have TOC values > 0.5 wt%, the minimum limit for hydrocarbon generation (Table 4). The HI values all indicate gas-prone Type III organic matter with possibilities to generate gaseous hydrocarbons when juxtaposed against the Tmax. S 2 vs. TOC plots gave an average hydrogen index of 148 mgHC/gTOC in source rocks from Ziye-1 well, indicating a possible oil generating potential (oil was not discovered in this well, but there is such a possibility in prospects that have source rocks correlat-

Abundance

ZY-1-1210 (Ziye-1)
Ion 71.00 (70.70 to 71.70): 0207233A. D

180000 170000 160000 150000 140000

Pr nC20 Ion 71 (n-alkanes) nC23

Relative intensity

130000 120000 110000 100000 90000 80000 70000 60000 50000 40000 30000 20000 10000 0 10.00 15.00 20.00 25.00 30.00 35.00 40.00 45.00 50.00

Time-->

Time
Abundance Ion 191.00 (190.70 to 191.70): D 0207233A. 11500 11000 10500 10000 9500 9000 8500 8000 7500 7000 6500 6000 5500 5000 4500 4000 3500 3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 32.00 Time--> 34.00 36.00 38.00 40.00 42.00 44.00

nC26

Ph

αβH

Ion 191 (triterpanes)

Ts Tm

m

Abundance Ion 1200 1150 1100 1050 1000 950 217.00 (216.70 to 217.70): 0207233A. D

Relative intensity

27 29 28

900 850 800 750 700 650 600 550 500 450 400 350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 30.00 32.00 34.00 36.00 38.00 40.00 42.00

Ion 217 (steranes)

44.00

Time-->

Time

Fig. 10. Mass chromatograms of ions 71 (n-alkanes), 191 (hopanes) and 217 (steranes) of Ziye-1-1210 (Ziye-1 well) from the Chad Basin (probably Gongila Formation).

Fig. 11. Soluble organic matter vs. TOC plots (based on Landais and Connan in Jovancicevic et al. (2002)) of samples from the inland basins of Nigeria indicating migrated oil in Ziye-1 well. This diagram does not recognize the oil source rock potential of coals and coaly samples and cannot therefore not be used to evaluate such samples.

able to those in Ziye-1 well). Biomarkers show a dominance of short-chain n-alkanes with no obvious OEP and are very similar to what an oil show or oil sample would look like (Fig. 10). A plot of the soluble organic matter (extract yield) against the TOC as proposed by Landais and Connan (1980) in Jovancicevic et al. (2002) for Ziye1-1210 (depth: 1210 m) indicate that some oils have actually migrated (oil show/oil impregnation) in Ziye-1 well (Fig. 11). This diagram, however, is not suitable for determining expelled/migrated hydrocarbons in coals and coaly samples, and for this reason, only plots of the Chad Basin samples can be considered reliable. Pristane/ phytane ratios range from 0.80 to 2.98 that indicate anoxic to oxic depositional environments. Steranes are dominantly of the C27 forms. The predominance of type-III organic matter in this basin with dominantly marine depositional environments (as confirmed by the high contents of C27 steranes) may be attributed to high oxic levels (high Pr/Ph ratios) which have downgraded organic matter preservation in the marine system. The relatively high Ts/Tm and low moretane/hopane ratios validate maturity levels that have entered the main phase of oil generation.

Mid-Niger/Bida Basin Although TOC values (Table 1) and liptinite contents are relatively high in the Mid-Niger Basin samples, the Tmax values, Ts/Tm and moretane/hopane ratios are indicative that hydrocarbons of mainly gaseous composition (Fig. 5) are probably just being generated in the basin and may not yet have been expelled nor migrated in large quantities. However, it is important to note at this stage that some hydrocarbon seepages have been reported along the bank of River Niger around Pategi and Mokwa in the Niger State of Nigeria (Philip Shekwolo, 2003, personal communications). COAL AS A SOURCE ROCK The subject of coal as a major source of oil and gas in many parts of the world has been extensively reviewed and succinctly discussed by Hunt (1991) and many other authors. Coal has long been recognized as a source of gas, primarily methane and carbon dioxide but its importance as a source of economic accumulations of oil has

Hydrocarbon prospects of sedimentary basins in Northern Nigeria 237

Table 5. Biomarker parameters of samples from the inland basins of Nigeria (results from the Anambra Basin as shown have not been discussed in this study)
Sample ID Formation Pr/Ph Ts/Tm m/αβH C2 7 (%) C2 8 (%) C2 9 (%) C2 7 /C2 9

Anambra Basin MAMU 22 MAMU 19 ENUG 13 NKPO 5 NKPO 4

Mamu Mamu Enugu Nkporo Nkporo

16.88 5.58 11.08 9.57 7.39

0.01 0.02 0.09 0.25 0.23

0.48 0.49 0.52 0.27 0.24

14.0 13.6 39.8 32.7 36.7

26.3 29.2 17.6 21.7 19.5

59.6 57.1 42.6 45.6 43.8

0.2 0.2 0.9 0.7 0.8

Mid-Niger Basin AHOK 5 Patti AHOK 2 Lokoja AHOK 1 Lokoja Middle Benue OBIC 5 OBIC 2b MBJJ 7 MBJJ 4 MBJJ 2 Upper Benue UBWJ 1 UBHJ 4 UBDJ 2 MGMC 3 LAMCO 1 DUKL 8 DUKL 1 GONG 3 PIND 10 Chad Basin KM-1 680 KM-1-1620 MS-1-1005 MS-1-1155 TM-1-2605 ZY-1-885 ZY-1-1210 ZY-1-1325 ZY-1-1880 ZY-1-2840

2.79 1.55 2.88

0.36 0.31 0.28

0.42 0.36 0.52

44.4 31.6 42.8

18.4 20.9 16.9

37.2 47.6 40.3

1.2 0.7 1.1

Awgu Awgu Awgu Awgu Awgu

4.70 4.53 4.89 7.33 4.95

0.95 0.84 1.23 3.21 0.92

0.07 0.08 0.07 0.05 0.06

16.1 27.8 40.0 12.5 7.8

32.3 25.3 20.0 33.8 39.1

51.6 46.8 40.0 53.8 53.1

0.3 0.6 1.0 0.2 0.1

Gombe Gombe Gombe Gombe Lamja Dukul Dukul Gongila Pindiga

1.22 0.94 3.44 2.67 6.65 2.05 3.91 1.00 0.84

0.71 0.81 0.00 0.25 0.03 0.74 0.32 0.61 0.36

0.12 0.10 0.14 0.14 0.18 0.21 0.27 0.12 0.36

41.4 8.9 13.7 35.8 14.7 42.7 39.3 39.7 51.0

21.4 32.2 44.9 20.2 21.7 19.2 23.0 25.0 22.6

37.1 58.9 41.4 44.0 63.6 38.0 37.7 35.3 26.4

1.1 0.2 0.3 0.8 0.2 1.1 1.0 1.1 1.9

Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila Gongila

0.80 1.66 1.01 0.72 1.30 2.83 2.85 2.97 2.98 0.98

0.33 0.85 0.38 0.38 0.83 0.22 1.25 0.97 0.92 0.94

0.15 0.10 0.18 0.13 0.10 0.31 0.11 0.10 0.10 0.09

46.6 41.7 47.2 17.8 44.7 52.2 46.8 49.1 46.2 48.6

21.1 18.9 19.2 18.8 22.0 22.8 18.8 20.8 18.5 18.9

32.3 39.4 33.6 63.4 33.3 25.0 34.4 30.2 35.3 32.4

1.4 1.1 1.4 0.3 1.3 2.1 1.4 1.6 1.3 1.5

been difficult to prove as coals are often interbedded with shales which are always assumed to be the source beds. Increasing evidence, however, suggests that coals and associated type III kerogens can yield not only gas or condensate (e.g., Tissot and Welte, 1984), but also significant quantities of oil (Murchison, 1987; Hunt, 1991; Hendrix et al., 1995). The traditional view that coals are largely gas-prone may be the result of historical bias in the study of North American and European Paleozoic coals, prior to the study of Mesozoic-Cenozoic coals containing contributions from resinous conifers and angiosperms (Obaje and Hamza, 2000).
238 N. G. Obaje et al.

Pyrolysis data have revealed that the hydrocarbon richness of sedimentary rocks is dependent on the amount and nature of liptinite and some vitrinite macerals (Hunt, 1991; Hendrix et al., 1995). The abundance of liptinite macerals is therefore the major criterion when considering any sedimentary rock (including coal) as a potential source for liquid hydrocarbons. A minimum of 15–20% liptinite content (by volume) of total macerals in shales, carbonates, or coals is considered an important criterion for a rock to be characterized as a potential oil source rock (Hunt, 1991). Although the concentration of longchain aliphatic constituents has also been considered as a

2

2 2 2 1 1 1

1

Basement

2 1 2 2

2 1 1

1

Basement

1 Horst Basement a Graben Basement

Migration

East Yola / Lamurde / Lau basins

200 km West
Gongola / Kerri-Kerri / Gombe basins

b

Fig. 12. Schematic illustrations of (a) Block faulting and the formation of horst and graben structures; juxtaposition of older reservoir facies against younger source rock facies; (b) Down-warping, subsidence and tilting in the Maastrichtian making provision for more sediment accommodation in the Gongola/Kerri-Kerri/Gombe sub-basin.

primary determinant of the oil generation potential of coals (Curry et al., 1994), the factors which govern their occurrence in different coals are poorly understood. Permian coals from the Cooper Basin in Australia, which have sourced commercial accumulations of oil (Curry et al., 1994), were deposited in high latitude bogs and contain 40–70% inertinite. Pristane/phytane ratios range from 2.15 to 6.00 and HIs are moderate (up to 243 mgHC/ gTOC). The extracts and pyrolysates both contain high relative concentration of aliphatic groups. These aliphatic groups were found to be derived from microbial biomass (bacterial and algal degradation products). The Taranaki coals (Late Cretaceous to Eocene) of New Zealand, which also are the source of commercial oil accumulations, were deposited in temperate fluvial-deltaic environments (Collier and Johnson, 1991). HI values range from 236–365. Extracts have high pristane/phytane ratios and variable abundances of hopanoid and other non-hopanoid terpanes. The extracts and pyrolysates both contain high relative concentrations of aliphatic groups >nC20 which were interpreted to be derived directly from higher plant materials. The geochemical results from the studies of Cooper Basin and Taranaki Basin coals show that long-chain aliphatic groups in coals can be derived directly from higher plant materials, from microbial activity in the depositional environment, or from a combination of both. The geochemical data of our Benue trough coals are very similar to those of the Cooper Basin and the Taranaki Basin. Coals and related continental strata with type III

kerogen provide the source for commercial oil accumulations in many other sedimentary basins around the world: e.g., in the Mahakam Delta of Indonesia (Huc et al., 1986), the Karoo Basin in Tanzania (Mpanju et al., 1991), the Junggar and Tarim Basins in northwestern China (Hendrix et al., 1995) and in the Harald and Lulita fields in the Danish Central Graben of the North Sea (Petersen et al., 2000). And in the Niger Delta of Nigeria, source rocks of dominantly type III kerogen produce the vast amounts of hydrocarbons that have accumulated in that part of the West African continental margin. The major problem with hydrocarbons generated from coaly source rocks is the fact that most of such hydrocarbons are adsorbed in the interstices of the coal matrix which has made effective expulsion, migration, accumulation and producibility very difficult (Barker et al., 1989). This is probably the case with the envisaged coaly-sourced hydrocarbons in the Nigerian Benue Trough. Exploration for hydrocarbons in these coals, therefore, must target deep coal seams that have been subjected to local and regional tectonics. EVALUATION OF P OTENTIAL PETROLEUM SYSTEMS The build up of any prospect or of a petroleum system requires the availability of good quality source rocks. Additionally, the stratigraphic position of the source rocks, the availability of good quality reservoir and seal lithologies, timing of hydrocarbon generation, favorable regional migration pathways and trapping mechanisms

Hydrocarbon prospects of sedimentary basins in Northern Nigeria 239

SW W Gongola sub-basin
Kolmani River-1 Ashaka Gombe well
Kerri-Kerri

E Yola sub-basin
Dadiya Syncline
Lakun Hiatus Sill Bima
Yold e

Pindiga/Futuk (Nasara-1 well) Biliri

Lamurde Anticline
Lafiya-Lamurde

Gongila

Go

e mb

Sill

a dig Pin

Dukul

e liy ku Se ssu Je

Bima

Yolde 6000m

lde Yo

lde Yo

Bima

Bima

Volcanic

B a s e m e n t

B a s e m e n t
Shell's subcommercial (33bcf) gas discovery Chevron's target (dry) Migration

B a s e m e n t

Fig. 13. Stratigraphy, structures, possible migration patterns and trapping mechanisms in the Upper Benue Trough (for the indicated section and horst trap) in relation to some exploratory wells drilled in the area.

must also be considered. In the Middle Benue Trough, juxtaposition of sandstone facies (Fig. 12a) of the Keana and Awe formations against the Awgu Formation source rock can lead to some petroleum trappings in this region. Time equivalent marine and paralic sandstones (e.g., the Makurdi Sandstone) and other sandstone bodies within the Awgu Formation are expected to constitute additional reservoirs. Prospects in the overlying Lafia Sandstone will be too shallow and may lack adequate seals, but the possibility of some traps within the Lafia Formation cannot be ruled out. In the Upper Benue Trough, a similar juxtaposition of sandstone facies against shaley and coaly source rocks as a result of block faulting that produced numerous horst and graben structures in this basin can provide good drainage for generated hydrocarbons. In this way, younger shaley and coaly source rocks can generate hydrocarbons that can be trapped in the underlying (but now juxtaposed) very thick and laterally extensive (but compartmentalized as a result of the block faulting) Bima Sandstone (Fig. 12a). Shelf sandstones within the Pindiga, Dukul, and Gongila formations may also constitute additional reservoir lithologies. Just like in the very shallow Paleocene Amal Formation in which significant volume of oil has been discovered in the Muglad Basin of Sudan (Schull, 1988; Mohamed et al., 1999), possibilities of shallow prospects within the Paleocene Kerri-Kerri Formation in the Upper Benue Trough cannot be ruled out. Volcanic activities locally occur in this basin, but none of the studied samples from this area has produced an
240 N. G. Obaje et al.

overcooked facies (Ro > 2.5%). In the Chad Basin, source rocks are mainly in the Gongila Formation (this study and Olugbemiro et al., 1997) and in the Fika Shale (Petters and Ekweozor, 1982). Reservoirs may be provided by sandstone facies in the same Gongila and Fika formations and in the Gombe Sandstone, where deposited. Most of the hydrocarbons in the Nigerian sector of the Chad Basin may have been lost as result of the Tertiary hiatus (non-deposition). Source rocks, reservoirs and seals in the Mid-Niger (Bida) Basin are in the Lokoja Sandstone and in the Patti Formation (if hydrocarbons have been generated). Prospects in this basin get better towards the center of the basin in the Bida area. With respect to the exploration and drilling campaigns so far undertaken, Maastrichtian tectonism has tilted and shifted the center of sedimentation in the Upper Benue Trough to the west in the so-called Gombe-Kerri-Kerri or Gongola sub-basin (Fig. 12b). The Gongola sub-basin therefore contains the thickest pile of sediments in the Upper Benue Trough and constitutes the more favorable sub-sector for exploration in that region. This is confirmed by Shell’s subcommercial success in Kolmani-River-1 well (Fig. 13). Chevron’s Nasara-1 well was too shallow and was located on an anticlinal core of the Pindiga Formation that was supposed to be the source rock (not corroborated in this study) for hydrocarbons that would have been generated for the targeted prospect. This is probably responsible for the dry hole encountered in that campaign.

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS Sedimentary basins in Northern Nigeria have been highly under-explored principally because of the poor knowledge of their geology, far distance from existing infrastructure and the prolificity of oil in the Niger delta. These basins constitute one set of a series of Cretaceous and later rift basins in Central and West Africa whose origin is related to the opening of the South Atlantic. Commercial hydrocarbon accumulations have recently been discovered in Chad and Sudan within this rift trend. This study has analyzed the quality of source rocks in the sedimentary basins of Northern Nigeria as a preliminary step to understanding petroleum systems that may be available in the basins. At the core of every petroleum system is a good quality source rock. Coal beds constitute the greater part of the source rocks in most parts of the basins. Coal beds and type III generally are currently well recognized as effective source rocks and being seriously considered in many exploration activities. In the Middle and Upper Benue Trough, good to fair source rock qualities characterize the coal beds of the Awgu Formation and the Lamja Formation respectively, while fair to poor source rock qualities are inherent in the Chad basin. Our geochemical data indicate that some oils have been generated and migrated into some intervals penetrated by Nasara-1 well and may have accumulated somewhere in the basin. Similarly, some oil impregnations (oil shows) were recorded in Ziye-1 well at a depth of 1210 m. Generated petroleum may not yet have reached the threshold for hydrocarbon expulsion in the Mid-Niger (Bida) Basin. A review of petroleum system elements in the basins indicate that commercial prospects may exist in sedimentary basins of Northern Nigeria. Although oil has not yet been discovered in commercial quantities in these basins, our biomarker spectra constitute an important data bank that can be used to trace the source rocks for whatever hydrocarbons (oil and/or gas) that may be discovered in these basins as exploration efforts continue. Chevron Overseas Petroleum Incorporation (COPI)’s exploration program in central Sudan was a classical textbook example of a successful drilling campaign, from concept to exploration and development, in an untested, remote, high risk, high cost area (Kaska, 1989). With relentless and rejuvenated geological and geophysical studies, particularly with respect to the evaluation of potential petroleum systems, commercial success may also be achieved in the Nigerian sector of Africa’s inland basins, even if it may take some time to put all the elements together. Apart from the samples from Nasara-1 well (Gongola Basin) and those from the Chad Basin, all other samples analyzed in this study were obtained from outcrops and some shallow boreholes. Outcrop samples having undergone many exogenic transformations (weathering, contaminations, anthropogeny) may not have yielded very reliable source

rock evaluation data, but being the only types of samples available for study in this region at the moment, they nevertheless have constituted preliminary useful data, since during sampling, attempts were made to cut back to unweathered materials. We recommend that a deep research well be drilled in each sector of Nigeria’s inland basins to furnish a better understanding of the stratigraphy, sedimentology and geochemistry of the yet chiefly unpenetrated deeper sections.
Acknowledgments—The greater part of this work was carried out during an Alexander von Humboldt fellowship tenure of the first author at the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), Hannover-Germany, in 2002/2003. The organic geochemistry and organic petrology team at BGR Hannover (Dr. Hermann Wehner, Dr. W. Hiltmann, Mrs. A. Balke, Mrs. Jolanta Kus, Mrs. A. Tietjen, Mrs. Monika Weiss, Mrs. A. Vidal) are gratefully acknowledged for assisting in the data generation.

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