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Abstract

The Taoudenni Basin, North Africa's largest sedimentary basin, is located in western Mauritania, northern Mali and southwestern Algeria. Of the four petroleum wildcat wells drilled to date, the Abolag-1 well, Mauritania, yielded gas shows in Infracambrian (Neoproterozoic) stromatolitic carbonates. We present details of the different plays of the basin from the Chenachène region in Algeria. The Infracambrian is generally composed of three sedimentary packages: a basal sandstone (a unit of the Douik Group), overlain by carbonates (the Hank Group), sandstones and shales (the Dar Echeikh Group). The play is sourced by Infracambrian organic-rich black shales. In neighbouring Mauritania these were penetrated by water wells and shallow boreholes, containing in places >20% TOC. In the Hank Group the best reservoirs are associated with fractured intervals. The Dar Echeikh Group includes several potential reservoir units with porosities of up to 26%. Potential petroleum trap types in the Algerian part of the Taoudenni Basin are associated with folds, the basal Palaeozoic unconformity, and Infracambrian and Triassic–Jurassic half-graben.

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