Taoudeni Basin

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Approximate extent of Taoudeni basin
Major West African sedimentary basins

The Taoudeni Basin is a major geological formation in West Africa, named after the Taoudenni village in northern Mali. It covers large parts of the West African craton in Mauritania and Mali. It is of considerable interest due to its possible reserves of oil.[1]


The Taoudeni is the largest sedimentary basin in Northwest Africa, formed during the Middle to Late Proterozoic. It continued to subside until the Middle Paleozoic, when Hercynian deformation and uplift occurred. It contains up to 6,000 metres (20,000 ft) of Late Precambrian and Paleozoic sediments. Exploratory drilling since the 1980s has found indications of petroleum in the Late Precambrian, Silurian and Late Devonian formations.[2]

Sediments are thicker in the western half of the basin.[3]

Petroleum geology[edit]

Possible cross-section of central Taoudeni Basin[4]

The government of Mali, one of the poorest countries in the world, is eager to create an oil industry.[4] Companies that have been exploring in the area include Baraka Petroleum, Sonatrach, Eni, Total S.A., Woodside and CNPC.[5]

However, the remote location and harsh environment of the Sahara Desert would make extraction expensive.[6]


  1. ^ Imrich Kusnir (1999). "Gold in Mali" (PDF). Acta Montanistica Slovaca. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
  2. ^ Ibrahim Amadou. "Petroleum assessment of the intracratonic Taoudeni basin, Mali". CPRM. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
  3. ^ Wright, J.B. (1985). Geology and mineral resources of West Africa. London: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0-04-556001-3.
  4. ^ a b "Mali – A Developing Oil and Gas IndustryA Industry" (PDF). The Corporate Council on Africa. 2006-12-01. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
  5. ^ "Taoudeni Basin, Onshore: Mali & Mauritania" (PDF). IHS. August 2007. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
  6. ^ "Taoudeni Basin Overview". Baraka Petroleum. Archived from the original on February 24, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-14. Baraka Petroleum is bankrupt and the website does not exist any more. The exploration assets are now (2012) in the hands of Eni Group, Woodsite and Sonatrach.

External links[edit]