This paper sought to use information from outcrop sections to characterize the source and reservoir rocks in a basin in order to give indication(s) for hydrocarbon generation potential in a basin in minimizing uncertainty and risk that are allied with exploration and field development of oil and gas, using subsurface data from well logs, well sections, seismic and core.

The methods of study includes detailed geological, stratigraphical, geochemical, structural,, petro-graphical, and sedimentological studies of rock units from outcrop sections within two basins; Anambra Basin and Abakaliki Basin were used as case studies. Thirty eight samples of shale were collected from these Basins; geochemical analysis (rockeval) was performed on the samples to determine the total organic content (TOC) and to assess the oil generating window. The results were analyzed using Rock wares, Origin, and Surfer software in order to properly characterize the potential source rock(s) and reservoir rock(s) in the basins, and factor(s) that can favour hydrocarbon traps. The results of the geological, stratigraphical, sedimentological, geochemical, and structural, were used to developed a new model for hydrocarbon generation in the Basins.

The result of the geochemical analysis of shale samples from the Anambra Basin shows that the TOC values are ≥ 1wt%, Tmax ≥ 431°C, Vitrinite reflectance values are ≥ 0.6%, and S1+S2 values are > 2.5mg/g for Mamu Formation while shale samples from other formations within Anambra Basin fall out of these ranges. The shale unit in the Mamu Formation is the major source rock for oil generation in the Anambra Basin while others have potential for gas generation with very little oil generation. The shale samples from Abakaliki Basin shows that S1+S2 values range from< 1 – 20mg/g, TOC values range from 0.31-4.55wt%, vitrinite reflectance ranges from 0.41-1.24% and Tmax ranges from423°C – 466°C. This result also shows that there is no source rock for oil generation in Abakaliki Basin; it is either gas or graphite. This observation indicates that all the source rocks within Abakaliki Basin have exceeded petroleum generating stage due to high geothermal heat resulting from deep depth or the shale units have not attained catagenesis stage as a result of S1+S2 values lesser than 2.5mg/g despite TOC values of ≥ 0.5wt% and vitrinite reflectance values of ≥ 0.6%.

The novelty of this study is that the study has been able to show that here there is much more oil than the previous authors claimed, and the distribution of this oil and gas in the basins is controlled by two major factors; the pattern of distribution of the materials of the source rock prior to subsidence and during the subsidence period in the basin, and the pattern and the rate of tectonic activities, and heat flow in the basin. If these factors are known, it would help to reduce the uncertainties associated with exploration for oil and gas in the two basins.

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