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The Petroleum industry has become the mainstay of the overall economy of Nigeria, accounting for about 90 per cent of the country’s foreign exchange earrings, about 20 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product, and about 85 per cent of the Federal Government collectable revenue. The demand for this back gold is fast increasing worldwide. Figure 1.1, from Purvin & Gertz’ most recent Global Petroleum Market Outlook study, shows how petroleum product demand has grown since 1995 and how it is expected to continue to grow through 2015. The study shows a 1.7 % per annum growth in worldwide demand and that this growth rate will continue over the next 15 years. The Purvin & Gertz study also states that the growth in crude supplies from 60 million barrels per day in 1990 to 75 million barrels in 2005 will continue up to 95 million barrels per day in 2020. The current growth in transportation fuel demand is outpacing the supply of traditional crude oil sources.

This gap can be filled through increased production of non-traditional hydrocarbon deposits, such as Canadian oil sands, Venezuelan heavy oils. It is apparent that increasing amounts of petroleum will come from nonconventional sources. Hence the need for the development of our heavy crude deposits. Therefore, in order to ensure continuity and orderly development of the industry, the Federal Government put in place a Petroleum Policy. Prominent among the objectives of the Policy is the development of the large deposit of tar sands in the country.

The extensive geological studies carried out largely by the staff of the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) IIe Ife, confirmed the existence of the natural bitumen in Western Nigeria in commercial quantities. Similarly, the limited engineering studies of the naturally occurring bitumen in the Okitipupa area of Ondo State. Also, reference to various reports, newspaper publications and other information media in Nigeria within the last two decades is a pointer to the fact that petroleum crude, generally a major source of bitumen, has been aptly described as Nigeria’s “black gold”. But can this “black gold” concept of petroleum crude oil be extended to bitumen? Perhaps the second phase of Nigeria’s economic breakthrough is round the corner!

It is in the light of the foregoing that the title of this research work has been chosen to read: “the reserve estimate of Bitumen deposit in Imeri, Southwestern Nigeria?” to find out if the natural bitumen can be mined in commercial quantity as a nonconventional petroleum to support Nigeria’ s economic sector .

At the end of this project, we hope to be able to find solution to some pertinent questions like:

1)   What is the meaning of bitumen?

2)    What is its reserve estimate of bitumen in the study area?

3)    What is its economic viability?


This project work aimed at determining:

The reserve estimate of bitumen deposit in Imeri, Ogun State, South-western Nigeria.

Its objective is to use this reserve in evaluating its commercial viability.


This project work covers:

  1. The determination of the depth of burial, thickness and aerial extend of deposition of bitumen in the study area.
  2. The estimation of bitumen reserve using the values gotten from above in the study area.

As a result of the short duration coupled with financial constraint this project will be limited to the study area.


The study area lies within latitude 06046-06049´N and longitudes 003058´-003060´E, on an area extent of approximately eighteen square kilometers (~18sq. km), a sedimentary terrain in the Dahomey Basin of Southwestern, Nigeria. The village has good road network that link it to the express. (Fig. 1.2)


Imeri is almost a flat plain ground with extremely low relief with elevation between 100ft and 250ft above sea level, the drainage pattern is sub-dendrite-like with an average annual temperature of 310C and mean annual rainfall of 1200mm to 2300mm.


The climate of Imeri is of moderately high humidity, the vegetation include shrubs, grasses and forest with agriculture being the predominant occupation of the dwellers.

1.7       DURATION

This project work is expected to be done within six (6) months in accordance with the school calendar and should be ready latest September, 2011.


This project work when completed will boost the nation’s economy by preserving our conventional oil reserves while attention is focused on bitumen development, if all the recommendations proposed are implemented.

This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research

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