Current Research

Theme: Nigeria is one of the developing countries endowed with numerous mineral resources and fossil fuels. Oil shales, tar sand (bitumen) and coal have been discovered in all continents, oceans and seas but are particularly abundant in the Atlantic Ocean with their occurrence coinciding with periods of transgression. There is little or no awareness as to the use of oil shale in Nigeria because of the early discovery of crude oil in the Niger Delta Basin.

The recent interest in oil exploration in the Benue Trough as well as the establishment of Gas project termed “Liquified Natural Gas" in Nigeria provided the impetus for more research work. The Abakaliki Fold Belt (Anambra and Afikpo Basins) is one of the petroliferous basins expected to yield appreciable quantity of hydrocarbon apart from the Niger Delta basin. Knowledge of the depositional environment, source rock quality; quantity and thermal history of the mid-Cretaceous black shales with more emphasis on the coal, bitumen and oil shale deposit had therefore been the focus of research over the years. Correlation has been made with other basins in Africa and the worldwide occurrences. Economic and environmental implications of the coal, bitumen and oil shale deposits had also been considered for its optimal resources quality. Since the mining of these deposits has been established in other countries, comprehensive information on the effects of mining activities on the environment is needed. Previous studies have provided information on factors affecting human health (Ehinola et al., 2005), which have to be taken into account by the mining industry when aiming for sustainable development of such industry in Nigeria.

Research in areas of geophysics for groundwater and mineral exploration, organic and inorganic geochemistry involving source rock characterization and environmental pollution studies in soils, rocks and water have also been investigated. The research in future will focus more on oil well drilling fluids, formation waters, empirical analysis, sand fairways prediction, distribution patterns of porosity and permeability in the reservoir sands of the Niger Delta, GIS applications in environmental studies, thermodynamic modeling of minerals and evaluation of the mid-Cretaceous cool tropics paradox using isotopic GCMS, foraminifera, calcareous nannofossils, paleosol and sideritic data sets. These will further enhance my interdisciplinary approach and long term professional relationships. The new techniques to sustainable energy development most especially on the drilling mud formulation and shale gas as well as sideritic paleosol studies in relation to global warming will be the ultimate goal.

(a) Completed:

(i) Economic Evaluation, Recovery Techniques, and Environmental implications of the oil shale

deposits in the Abakaliki Fold Belt, SE, Nigeria

(ii) Geochemical Evaluation of coal, oil shale, seepages and bitumen from Nigeria basins.

(iii) Trace Elements Variations in the mid-Cretaceous black shales of the Abakaliki Anticlinorium, SE, Nigeria

(iv) Thermodynamics study on the utilization of Lokpanta Oil shale in the cement industry.

(v) Mid-Cretaceous Foraminiferal zonation and the oil shale interval in the southeastern, Nigeria

(b) In Progress:

(i) Predictive modeling and hydrocarbon prospectivity of Anambra and Niger Delta Basins

(ii) Sand fairways prediction in the outer neritic to bathyal zone of the eastern coastal swamp depobelt of Niger Delta

(iii) Synthetic based fluid formulations using agricultural crops, micro-algae and vegetables

(iv) Shale gas potential of Nigeria inland basins and Niger Delta.

(v) Application of diamondoids to oil exploration and exploitation.

(vi) Porosity and Permeability variation in the Niger Delta Depobelts.

(vii) Sequence stratigraphy of some selected oil fields from Niger Delta

(c) Dissertation and Thesis:

EHINOLA, O.A. 2002. Depositional Environment and Hydrocarbon Potential of the Oil Shale Deposit from the Abakaliki Fold Belt, Southeastern Nigeria, Ph.D thesis, University of Ibadan, 240p.