Sedimentological and Scanning Electron Miscroscopic Descriptions of Afowo Oil Sand Deposits, South Western Nigeria

A Akinmosin 1  and C.V. Melifonwu 2
  • 1 Department of Geosciences, Faculty of Science, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria
  • 2 Department of Geosciences, Faculty of Science, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria


Sedimentological and scanning electron microscopic analyses of some shallow reservoir tar sand samples in parts of Southwestern Nigeria were carried out with the aim of characterizing the reservoir properties in relation to bitumen saturation and recovery efficiency. The production of impregnated tar from the sands requires the reservoir to be of good quality. A total of thirty samples were collected at different localities within the tar sand belt (ten out of these samples were selected for various reservoir quality analyses based on their textural homogeneity). The result of particle size distribution study showed that bulk of the sands is medium – coarse grained and moderately sorted. The grain morphologies are of low to high sphericity with shapes generally sub-angular to sub-rounded, implying that the sands have undergone a fairly long transportation history with depositional energy having a moderate to high velocity. The quartz content was made up of about 96% of the total mineralogical components; the sediments of the Afowo Formation can be described to be mineralogically and texturally stable. The result of the scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis revealed that the oil sands contained minerals which had been precipitated and occurred as pore filling cement; these minerals include sheet kaolinite, block kaolinite, vermiform kaolinite, pyrite crystals and quartz. The SEM images also showed micro-pores ranging from 0.057µm to 0.446µm and fractures. The study showed that the clay minerals contained in the Afowo reservoir rocks were mainly kaolinite. Kaoline unlike some other clays (e.g Montimorillonite) does not swell with water, hence it is not expected to have any negative effects on the reservoir quality, especially during enhanced oil recovery operations.

From overall results of the reservoir quality assessment, Oso J4 and Gbegude sands should be expected to make better reservoirs with good oil recovery efficiency due to their low content of fines and better sorting characteristics when compared to sediments of other areas.

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