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The search for oil in Mali began in the early 1960s with gravity and magnetic surveys followed by around 9,000 kms of 2D seismic acquisition up to the early 1980s.
Just 5 unsuccessful exploration wells were drilled up to 1985 to search for analogues to sedimentary basins identified in neighbouring countries, in particular the Taoudeni Basin which underlies Mauritania and Algeria. In 1982 a well reportedly had gas shows in this basin
The country’s remoteness and lack of success curtailed any further activity until 2004 when Baraka Petroleum acquired an interest triggered by the construction of an oil pipeline from Chad through Cameroon which led to hopes of a similar pipeline from Mali through Algeria.
Baraka conducted an evaluation of 5 blocks in the Taoudeni basin in 2006 and identified Cambrian black shales along the northern margins and carbonates as potential reservoirs with similarities to Algeria. Other companies that have explored in the area include ENI (who farmed into Barak’a blocks),Sonatrach, Total, Woodside, Centric Energy, Heritage Oil, Simba Energy, Statoil and CNPC. However none have drilled any wells and activity has all but ceased with the lower oil price.
Although there may be at least one active petroleum system in Mali the fact that no recent drilling has been conducted leads Globalshift to forecast no oil or gas production for at least the short and medium term.
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North and Northwest Africa