Reserve Estimate Of Imeri Bitumen Deposit (A Case Study Of Imeri, Ogun State, Nigeria)

Project and Seminar Material for Geology

Reserve Estimate Of Imeri Bitumen Deposit (A Case Study Of Imeri, Ogun State, Nigeria)


Bitumen, which is known to be a biodegraded hydrocarbon, is composed of mineral matter (which include sand and clay) and water. In this study, the occurrence and structural settings of the Imeri bituminous oil deposit have been investigated because of the economic importance of bitumen as a readily available alternative source ofenergy.
This investigation was carried out by employing electrical resistivity method which involves Vertical Electrical Sounding and Horizontal Profiling.

Horizontal profilings with potential of 20m electrode separation moving at 5m meter interval were established along the four traverses across the study area. Three vertical electrical sounding (VES) were also carried out along the profiles using Schlumberger array with maximum half way spread length (AB/2) of 225m. The traverses were carried out along the East-West direction of the location using wenner array, which give suspected anomaly that later require further investigation and the vertical electric sounding was used, the resistivity curves obtained revealed up to a maximum of four geoelectric layers which suspects the possible occurrence of Bitumen oil in the second layer at a mean depth of 0.5m. The Isoresistivity imaging of study area gives a clear trend of the deposition using horizontal profiling.

The indication of bitumen oil in the study area is characterized by good lateral continuity over the area of study, from geologic review the tar sand spread across the eastern part of Dahomey basin. The results of this study have offered important geologic information that will aid the mine design and economic exploitation of the Imeri bitumen oil deposit.

Table Of Content

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title page
  • Certification page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of content

Chapter One


  • Statement of Problem
  • Aim and Objectives
  • Geology of the Study Area
  • Justification of Research
  • Uses

Chapter Two

Literature Review

  • Principle and Theory of Electrical Resistivity Method
  • Rock Resistivity
  • Electrical Resistivity Method
  • Apparent Resistivity and Electrode Configuration
  • Comparism of Different Array
  • Limitation of Electrical Resistivity Method
  • Image Theory

Chapter Three

Materials and Methodology

  • Instrumentation
  • Field investigation
  • Data Acquisition
  • Data Interpretation

Chapter Four

Result and Discussion

  • Profiling
  • Vertical Electrical Sounding
  • Resistivity Imaging

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • Reference

Chapter One


Oil sands formerly known as tar sands are composed of bitumen, mineral matter which includes clay or sand and water (Ako et. al., 2012). The bitumen also referred to as heavy oil constitutes an important energy resource that must be rigorously treated in order to convert it to an upgraded crude oil before it can be used in refineries to produce gasoline and other fuels. Bitumen is highly viscous oil with API < 200c and it is regarded as the biogenic product of crude oil found in the sedimentary environment. The great majority of bitumen used commercially is obtained from petroleum. Nonetheless, large amounts of bitumen occur in concentrated form in nature (Kingston et. al. 1983). Naturally occurring deposits of bitumen are formed from the remains of ancient, microscopic algae (diatoms) and other once- living things. These remains were deposited in the mud on the bottom of the ocean or lake where the organisms lived. Under the heat (above 50 °C) and pressure of burial deep in the Earth, the remains were transformed into materials such as asphalt/bitumen, kerogen, or petroleum (Gwynn and Hanson,2007).

The elemental composition of bitumen includes 79-88% Carbon, 7-13% Hydrogen; trace to 3% Nitrogen, 8% Sulphur, 8% Oxygen by weight (UNEP and ZLO, 2004). When the light fractions (paraffin) are lost through natural processes after evolution from organic source materials, the oil becomes heavy, with a high proportion of asphaltic molecules, and with substitution in the carbon network of heteroatoms such as nitrogen, sulfur, and oxygen.

Therefore, heavy oil, regardless of source, always contains the heavy fractions (naphthene and aromatic). Most naturally occurring bitumen contains nickel and vanadium in less than 10ppm level. (Anja Sörensen and Bodo Wichert, Weinheim, 2009.) In additon, this hydrocarbon is soluble in organic solvent such as carbon disulfide. (Muhammad Abdul Quddus 1992.)

The largest deposits of bitumen in the world can be found in Venezuela, Canada, and Saudi Arabia respectively. Studies also revealed that Nigeria has a reserve estimate of 30-40 billion barrels (bbls) bitumen with potential recovery of 3654 × 106bbls (Adegoke et. al., 1981). The occurrence of bitumen in southwestern Nigeria has been recorded from boreholes and seepages (Omatshola and Adegoke, 1981). The oil sand outcrops lie across the East-West belt, approximately 120km long and 4-6km wide, cutting across these states: Edo, Ogun, and Ogun (Enu, 1985). Occurrence of the seepage and tar sand deposit over the Okitipupa ridge in the Dahomey basin provided the initial impetus for oil exploration in Nigeria. The significant benefit that may result from the exploitation of this resource (MMSD, 2010) makes its delineation an important concern.

The petroleum habitat is almost exclusively the Afowo Formation, a member of the Abeokuta Group. This litho-unit is of Turonian – Maastrichtian age and consists of interbeds of coarse-medium grained sandstones, siltstones and shale deposited in a transitional to marginal marine environment (Akinmosin et. al., 2012).

The economic importance of bitumen is versatile as it is widely used in various applications such as in the construction and maintenance of roads; as a feedstock, in petrochemical industries and as an alternative source of energy.

Omosanya et. al., (2012) have review the bitumen characterization in the eastern part of Dahomey basin which Imeri is part of, they were able to use the Geophysical survey and Sedimentological analysis was carried out on the bitumen seepage at Onikitibi (longitude: 04° 18′ 18″ E and latitude: 06° 39′ 39″ N) with a view to elucidate its electrical and lithological characteristic. Electrical resistivity profiling and one vertical electrical sounding along a profile of inter-electrode spacing of 5m-30m, and 1000m were carried out using the Wenner and Schlumberger electrode configuration along the seepage zone. Three samples collected from the exposure were subjected to granulometric analysis in order to determine their particle size distribution and textural characteristics of the deposit.

Odunaike et. al., (2014) have also studied and described the use of two-dimensional electrical imaging technique in defining regions of oil sand deposits and determining the geometry of such deposits in Imeri, South Western Nigeria. Three field survey lines were acquired in different orientations in the study area with one of the lines above the oil sand outcrop observed in the area.

Hence, this research work utilizes electrical resistivity method to map and characterize the bitumen deposit in Imeri area.

Figure 1.1: Map Showing Nigeria’s Bitumen Belt. Bitumen is found across Lagos, Ogun, Ogun, and Edo States. Blocks A, B, and C, was first bid on in 2009. (After BIN 2009)

1.1 Statement Of Problem

Until recent years, conventional light crude oil has been abundantly available and has easily met all world demand for this form of energy. By year 2007, however, demand for crude oil worldwide has substantially increased, straining the supply of conventional oil. This has led to consideration of alternative or insufficiently utilized energy sources, among which heavy crude oil and natural bitumen are perhaps the most readily available to supplement short- and long-term needs (Emil D. Attanasi et. al., 2007).

The dilapidated state of the road networks in the country is also worrisome. Studies have revealed that bitumen, aside from being a vital natural resource for the construction and maintenance of roads, can also be processed and upgraded to yield gasoline.

(Beskrovnyi et. al., 1975) concluded that three to four times more petroleum was required than the reserves of a natural bitumen for a given deposit. Hence this research work is carried out to isolate the bitumen deposits in Imeri area.

There has been an increasing demand for crude oil over the years which may eventually lead to its depletion if alternative means are not provided.

1.2 Aim And Objectives

The aim of the study is to delineate and map the bitumen deposits in the study area.

And the objectives are:

  1. To delineate the subsurface lithology.
  2. To map the bitumen deposits in the study area using electrical resistivity method.
  3. To determine the flow of the bituminous oil in the subsurface.
  4. Establishment of the bituminous oil geometry in the study area.

1.3 Geology Of The Study Area

The study area is located within the geographical grids of latitude 60 35’ 16.3”N and 60 39’ 40.9”N and longitudes 40 18’ 29.0”E and 40 50’ 20.7”E in Ogun State. It falls within the sedimentary terrain in the Dahomey basin of southwestern, Nigeria. The Dahomey basin is an Atlantic margin basin containing Mesozoic-Cenozoic sedimentary succession reaching a thickness of over 3000m. It extends from southeastern Ghana to the western flank of the Niger Delta. It stratigraphy is classified by various authors into Abeokuta Group, Imo Group, Oshosun Formation, Ilaro Formation and Coastal Plain sands and Alluvium (Jones and Hockey, 1964; Omatsola and Adegoke, 1981 and Agagu, 1985). The Imeri area is underlain by the sediments of the Imo Group. The Benin (Dahomey) Basin constituting part of a system of West African peri-cratonic (margin sag) basin (Klemme 1975; Kingston et. al., 1983) developed during the commencement of the rifting associated with the opening of the Gulf of Guinea, in the early Cretaceous to the Late Jurassic (Burke et. al., 1971; Whiteman, 1982).

The crustal separation, typically preceded by crustal thinning, was accompanied by an extended period of thermally induced basin subsidence through the Middle – Upper Cretaceous to Tertiary times as the South American and the African plates entered a driftphase to accommodate the emerging Atlantic Ocean (Storey, 1995; Mpanda, 1997). The Ghana Ridge, presumably an offset extension of the Romanche Fracture Zone, binds the basin to the west while the Benin Hinge line, a basement escarpment which separates the Okitipupa structure from the Niger Delta basin that binds it to the east. The Benin Hinge Line supposedly defines the continental extension of the Chain Fracture Zone given room for deposition of bitumen inImeri.

All land near or on top of Nigeria’s bitumen belt is likely to be affected by the soil, water, and air pollution associated with extraction. On sites where bitumen is located near the surface, all topsoil would be removed, making farming impossible. Major occupations include subsistence and cash-crop agriculture, fishing, logging, sand mining, and more. All of these industries would be affected by bitumen development (Christina Milos, 2014). “Our people are predominantly farmers and fishermen. They plant cocoa and food crops like cassava. We know that when they start the exploration it will affect our crops. It will affect both cash crops and food crops. It will kill the fishes in the rivers. It will affect our sources of livelihood.” (Ojo et. al.,2004)

1.4.1 Location, Relief, And Climate Of The Study Area

The area of study is area is located within the geographical grids of latitude 60 35’ 16.3”N and 60 37’ 13.9”N and longitudes 40 49’ 29.0”E and 40 50’ 20.7”E in Ogun State. It falls within the sedimentary terrain having a plane homogenous topography which can be term as tropical rain forest with tall trees of seasonal cropping ranging from dry to wet season with period of six to five month annually. (Orire et. al., 2007)

The tropical rainfall within the region is heavy which precipitate throughout the year but between 250mm-150mm during the harmattan. The topography of the area is relatively flat plain low land ranging between 14m to 34m above the sea level.

Figure1.2: Map Showing the Study Area. (Modified after PTF, 1997)

1.4 Justification Of Research

The research is a field based project which will investigate the deposition of bitumen oil in the area of deposition for basic exploitation. It has been reviewed that earth imaging of the occurrence have not being carried out overtime.

1.5 Uses

Bitumen is widely used in the construction of asphalt roads and bituminous membrane products. Bitumen is commonly used to build highways, motorways, and rail networks. Bitumen has excellent water-proofing properties and is widely used for making roofing products along with a range of other household and industrial applications, from emulsion paints to sound-proofing. Penetration Bitumen and Bitumen Emulsions are used for the construction of railway tracks and by using special types of bitumen such as Polymer Modified Bitumen, the vibration and noise levels are reduced due to a dampening effect. Bitumen has been proven to be effective on both high-speed railway tracks and heavy load railway tracks.

Bitumen is also used for surfacing airfield runways and air strips (PMB is preferred due to its fuel resistant properties) and taxi ways. For the Marine construction industry bitumen is used for hydraulic applications such as canal lining, underwater tunnels, river bank protection, dam construction, and sea defenses. There are also numerous industrial applications like roofing felt material, printing inks, packaging paper, linoleum, electrical cable/Junction box insulation, mastic for roofing of terraces, and duplex paper manufacture. Bitumen Suppliers Limited can meet all your individual requirements. (Bitumenbiz 2014)

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusion, And Recommendation

5.1 Summary

This study have indicated that bitumen oil is a biodegraded hydrocarbon which is made up of Hydrogen in 13%, Carbon in 80% and other trace element like; Oxygen, Sulphur, Nitrogen and Nickel. The Imeri bitumen oil deposition is located in Ogun state south west Nigeria along coordinate 06035’ to 06039’ Northing and 04015’ to 04018’. The deposition which took place during the Orogeny of the Dahomey Basin which extend through the eastern flank of Ghana to the south western part of Nigeria down to the Western flank of Cameroon.

Due to the vast economic important of the Bitumen oil the geophysical exploration will not be evicted, for the success of this project the geophysical electrical resistivity method was employed using the Vertical Electric Sounding and Horizontal Profiling technique along some stipulated area within the study area, the acquired data and relevant result of the investigation were presented in chapter four of this course.

5.2 Conclusion

This study has shown the successful application of electrical resistivity geophysical methods using vertical electrical sounding and horizontal profile in the exploration of Imeri Bitumen.

The processing of both the VES and horizontal profile data indicate the possible presence of tar (bitumen) in the bituminous oil layer located at a mean depth of 5m. The modelled data show the nature of the basement topography.

5.3 Recommendation

The results have also indicated that the tar sand layer is characterized by good lateral continuity and is sufficiently thick for commercial exploitation (i.e. average thickness of 80 m).

Reserve Estimate Of Imeri Bitumen Deposit (A Case Study Of Imeri, Ogun State, Nigeria)

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