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Evidence is presented from the interpretation of seismic data for the compressional deformation of intra-plate oceanic crust in the eastern Gulf of Guinea, a region occupied by the Douala-Rio Muni Basin and the Cameroon Volcanic Line. The deformation has taken the form of the reactivation of syn-kinematic structures in the fabric of the oceanic crust. The origin of the Cameroon Volcanic Line is usually attributed to a mantle hotspot, but interpretation of the seismic data indicates that strike-slip and/or compressional tectonics and reactivation of the fabric of the oceanic crust have all played an important role in its evolution. A regional tectonic model is presented that associates deformation in the eastern Gulf of Guinea with regional alpine-related far-field compressive stress. In this way, a causal link is invoked between deformation of the oceanic crust and strike-slip movement on the Central African Shear Zone, establishing a continent–ocean tectonic link. The evolution of the Cameroon Volcanic Line and the continent–ocean tectonic link has imparted a unique tectonostratigraphic history to the Douala-Rio Muni Basin and has influenced its petroleum endowment. The structural and combination trapping potential has been greatly enhanced in this environment and the structural architecture of the basin has influenced the depositional patterns of the deep water reservoir sands.

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