Synopsis top ↑
The population of almost 14 million consumes half a million tons of oil annually (per capita, this is 1/50 of that of Germany). There is no domestic hydrocarbon production. There are huge oil accumulations at Tsimiroro (heavy oil) and Bemolonga (tar sands) in the western part of the island.
The aim of this brief report is to provide a general overview of the
petroleum geology of Madagascar and to provide a guideline for
petroleum exploration in Madagascar, which up to now has been
The following facts suggest that the Karoo (Permian-Lias) has a very favourable source rock potential: Firstly, the giant non-conventional oil deposits in Tsimiroro (heavy oil) and Bemolanga (tar sands), secondly, the recognition of several source rocks of good quality, however, of limited lateral distribution, and thirdly, widespread seepages and frequent hydrocarbon shows in wells. Therefore, a major condition for commercially successful exploration is fulfilled. Like in the Great Karoo Basin of South Africa, part of which is well explored, reservoir seals of limited lateral extent and reservoir deterioration (kaolinisation) have limited the success of hydrocarbon exploration in the Karoo of Madagascar. New ideas for exploration are promising, some of which were introduced by Shell in 1989-1994, with new concepts and models, e.g., juxtaposition of post-Karoo traps and mature Karoo source rocks or exploration of traps with mature sources rocks in the drainage areas down-dip of the large non-conventional oil deposits mentioned above.