West Africa Geochemistry

Drilling activity in the Aptian Salt Basins of equatorial West Africa has grown substantially during the past decade. Interest and activity have been encouraged by a series of significant oil discoveries in both the onshore and offshore. To help evaluate exploration opportunities Core Laboratories has developed a comprehensive geochemical database for both crude oils and source rocks. The regional geochemical study of the Aptian Salt Basins addresses several critically important questions including the following:

  • Where are the depocenters of effective pre-salt source rocks located?
  • How many oil families are there and what is their distribution?
  • What are the migration conduits connecting effective sources and related oils?
  • How extensive are mature post-salt source beds?
  • Where has pre-salt generated oil migrated into the post-salt section and how?
  • How far updip has post-salt oil migrated from mature post-salt source?
  • What factors are most important in controlling oil composition within the region?

This study covers the Gabon, Congo, and Cuanza basins of West Africa and the northern extension of this trend into offshore Cameroon. Approximately 10,000 source rock samples from fifty-three (53) wells and 164 oils, representing both the pre-salt and post-salt sections were analyzed.

Results of the study are presented in both analytical and interpretative reports formatted so that the major findings are readily accessible to the explorationist.

  • Analytical source rock data for the cores and cuttings are presented within individual well reports. Each report includes data tables, a Geochemical Well Profile, and an overall source-rock evaluation of the section penetrated.
  • A Crude Oil Report contains location maps and all analytical results in the form of data tables, gas chromatograms, and GC/MS fragmentograms.
  • A synthesis and interpretation of all analytical and geological data is presented within a comprehensive final report. The principal aim of this report is to outline the exploration significance of the data and make specific recommendations for future exploration. Full-color maps and figures are provided in the synthesis. Maps outline the character and distribution of oil families and effective source rocks.