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Somalia is underlain by the northwestern edge of the Somali Plate which is bounded by the African, Arabian and Indian Plates. The Somali Plate began to form in the Late Cretaceous by rifting of the African Plate along the East African Rift.

The African Plate west of the rift is called the Nubian Plate. The Somali Plate in Somalia is bounded on the west by the East African Rift, which stretches south from the triple junction in the Afar Depression of Djibouti and Eritrea. The northern boundary is the Aden Ridge along the coast of Saudi Arabia.

Within the Somali plate are intra-cratonic rift basins. The Ogaden Basin, which covers a large part of Ethiopia, developed in response to complex rifting active during the Late Palaeozoic to Mesozoic. Thick Permian to Cretaceous sequences, which principally occur in the southwestern and central parts of the basin, have proven petroleum potential.

Reservoir rocks are mainly Permian to Lower Jurassic sandstones and  limestones.  Source rocks are organic-rich Permian, Lower Jurassic and Jurassic lacustrine and marine shales. A small part of the Ogaden basin extends into southern Somalia.

Several northwest trending rift basins are also present in Somaliland and Puntland filled with restricted marine sequences. These basins include the Adigala in the west, the Darin and Dharoor in the east and the Nugaal in the south. They were created during rifting events that began to split Gondwanaland in the Middle Jurassic and are analogous to oil and gas bearing basins in Yemen across the Gulf of Aden within the Arabian plate.

Jurassic sandstones are the main reservoir targets overlying organic-rich Jurassic shales and marls which are thought to be potential source rocks. A number of other layers also produce in Yemen and rocks of similar age may be prospective in Somalia. However, when the East African Rift was developing, the earlier Gondwanan rifts were subject to uplift and erosion which Globalshift considers may have destroyed older traps.

South and East Africa