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Abstract

Regional integration of results from conventional exploration geochemistry, structural analysis, and gravity–magnetic data provide a comprehensive new understanding of Niger Delta petroleum systems. Nigeria is the 12th largest producer of crude oil in the world. Daily oil production from the Niger Delta is 2.1 million bbl, and recoverable reserves are estimated to be about 22.5 billion bbl. Historically, structural play types have dominated, although large stratigraphic traps have also been discovered. The basin has matured through one cycle of successful exploration, and future success depends on linking the geology of the shelf and onshore areas to deep-water areas and exploiting new play types in older producing areas.

Three petroleum systems are present in the Niger Delta and delta frame: Lower Cretaceous (lacustrine), Upper Cretaceous–lower Paleocene (marine), and Tertiary (deltaic). One biodegraded seep oil from Nigerian tar sands along the northern flank of the Dahomey Embayment has been correlated to Neocomian source rocks in Ise-2 well. A source rock extract and pyrolyzate of the seep are similar to the Bucomazi petroleum system in the Lower Congo Basin. Oil recovered from Paleogene sandstones in Shango-1 well are inferred to be derived from Upper Cretaceous–lower Paleocene source rocks identified in Epiya-1 well, consisting of type II and II–III kerogens. The principal source for oil and gas in the Niger Delta is the Tertiary deltaic petroleum system, consisting of type II, II–III, and III kerogens. On the basis of oils and source rocks, source facies variation characteristic of this system has been regionally mapped in the northwestern part of the delta. Similar trends exist delta-wide and are responsible, along with burial, for controlling the complex distribution of gas and oil across the delta.

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