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Geology and hydrocarbon potential of the Nigerian sector of Dahomey Basin


This paper is a review of the geology, tectonics and hydrocarbon potential of the Dahomey Basin (Nigeria). The basin is sometimes referred to as an embayment as some authors argue it is not completely separated from the Niger Delta. The lithological continuity between the eastern end of the basin and the western end of the Niger Delta has further contributed to the complexity of formation discrimination and increasing popularity of the confusion in terminology; a problem arising from workers on the basin disagreeing with one another. The Dahomey Basin is part of the strings of basins formed during the opening of the Gulf of Guinea of West Africa in the Cretaceous. The Dahomey Basin was formed from a combination of basement subsidence and block faulting. The initial subsidence resulted in the deposition of thick arenaceous sediments during the Early Cretaceous. An attempt is made here to discuss some of the well-known authors' viewpoints and compare their classification and recommendation system. The petroleum prospect of the basin is subject to debate, although there are proven offshore hydrocarbon fields and enormous onshore deposits of heavy oil and tar sands. The hydrocarbons source calls for critical evaluation, as some authors believe the bituminous deposits are petroleum oil that had crept up-dip from the Niger Delta. Suitable hydrocarbon trapping mechanisms exist within the basin but are most in deep offshore.

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The authors thank the African Union Commission for funding this work by establishing the Pan African University.


African Union Commission; through the Pan African University of Life and Earth Sciences, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.

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Falufosi, M.O., Osinowo, O.O. Geology and hydrocarbon potential of the Nigerian sector of Dahomey Basin. J. Sediment. Environ. 6, 335–358 (2021).

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  • Dahomey Basin
  • Chain fracture zone
  • Benin hinge line
  • Okitipupa ridge
  • Embayment