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Novel insights about petroleum systems from source and reservoir rock characterization, Cretaceous Deposits, Babouri-Figuil Basin, Northern Cameroon

March 20, 2024

The Babouri-Figuil Basin (BFB) is a frontier basin for petroleum in Cameroon. It belongs to the series of Cretaceous rift basins of the West and Central Rift System (WCARS), the origin of which is related to the opening of the South Atlantic. Within the same rift system, commercial hydrocarbon accumulations have been discovered in Chad, Sudan, Niger and, more recently, in Nigeria (Gongola Basin). The study of the geology of the BFB just recently received considerable attention, mainly because of its presumed hydrocarbon potential. In the pursuit of researching possible petroleum systems in the BFB, the current study provides a first look into the characterization of source and reservoir rock and its integration into a 2D lithostratigraphic model. The study was solely based on outcrop samples. Black shale and massive claystone are good to excellent hydrocarbon source rocks [e.g., up to 38 wt% total organic carbon (TOC), up to 943 mg/g hydrogen index, up to 85 m thickness, up to 20–30 km lateral extension], with moderate to high values of extractable organic matter (e.g., >10,000 ppm). Calcareous claystone, on the other hand, are poor source rocks [e.g., <0.20 wt% TOC]. The samples are thermally immature, except for those located close to volcanic intrusion at Golombe that have reached the threshold for oil generation (Tmax >435 °C, production index >0.1). The petrographic analysis of sandstone revealed that they are fine-grained to coarse-grained, poorly to moderately sorted, texturally and compositionally immature to submature, subarkosic to arkosic arenites. The main diagenetic processes that affected sandstones are as follows: moderate to intense compaction characterized by the development of long, concavo-convex, and sutured contacts between grains; cementation through calcite, iron oxide, and quartz cements; alteration of mica and feldspar grains; partial to complete dissolution of feldspar, mica, amphibole grains, and calcite cement; and the replacement of feldspar and mica grains by clay minerals. Alteration and dissolution increase the porosity of sandstone through the creation of secondary pores. However, mechanical compaction through the development of a pseudomatrix and cementation as pore-filling materials have significantly reduced the quality of sandstone beds as conventional petroleum reservoirs. Hence, the best reservoir-quality sandstones in the basin are generally located in the upper portion of the basin in terms of its lithostratigraphic model. They are the cleanest sandstones with the smallest amount of cement and the lowest ductile grain content (pseudomatrix), with a thickness that varies from 3 m to 120 m and a lateral extension of 20 km. The lithostratigraphic model of the basin is characterized by an extensive lacustrine environment that provided a thick sequence of organic-rich formations; sand deposited as extensive reservoirs sandwiched between shale/claystone beds; the development of stratigraphic traps through lateral facies change; and the widespread deposition of lacustrine and floodplain claystone that provide regional seals. The similarities between the Babouri-Figuil Basin and proven petroleum systems in other WCARS rift basins suggest that the basin may host at least one petroleum system where actively generating source rocks are present.

Publication Year 2024
Title Novel insights about petroleum systems from source and reservoir rock characterization, Cretaceous Deposits, Babouri-Figuil Basin, Northern Cameroon
DOI 10.1016/j.coal.2024.104491
Authors Manga Gaspard, Javin J. Hatcherian, Paul C. Hackley, Moise Bessong, Carole Bapowa, Henry Pougue, Arsene Meying
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title International Journal of Coal Geology
Index ID 70252736
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geology, Energy & Minerals Science Center