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Name: Finbarr McTeirnan


Contact Details

Tel: +353 (0)1 896 1363
Fax: +353 (0)1 6711199

Title of Project

Petroleum Geology Of The Lake Edward Basin, Albertine Rift Valley, East Africa

Project details

The Albertine Rift forms the northern sector of the Western Arm of the East African Rift System, and consists of the Lakes Albert, Edward, George and Kivu basins. Petroleum exploration in the region has focussed on Lake Albert, with vast oil reserves now proven and plans in place to build East Africa’s first refinery in Uganda. Lake Edward, by contrast, has remained under-explored. No exploration wells, deep seismic reflection surveys or even geological field mapping had been undertaken in the basin when Dominion Petroleum acquired the licence to begin exploration there in 2007. From 2007 until end-2009, the first geological field surveys were conducted of south-eastern onshore Lake Edward, Uganda, in Exploration Area 4B (EA4B). This research culminated in drilling the first well in the basin, Ngaji-1. In 2010, my supervisor undertook the first geological field reconnaissance of Block V, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which includes the southern and south-western parts of the basin. Subsequent security issues in the region prevented further trips and the research focus switched back to the Ugandan side of the lake. The first detailed geological map of EA4B, with a high resolution stratigraphic and structural framework is now in press (Nicholas, 2014), and finally, the security situation in DRC has stabilised. SOCO Exploration & Production DRC fully funded a thorough geological field survey of Block V, DRC by me and my supervisor in June – August, 2014. This PhD project will incorporate this summer’s field work into it to form the basis of the first complete appraisal of the sedimentology, stratigraphy, structure and petroleum geology of the entire Lake Edward basin. This project will draw upon the previous research in EA4B, with full access to all of Dominion Petroleum and SOCO’s seismic and well data for the block. However, subsequent field surveys will concentrate on the unmapped area to the north and north-east of Lake Edward, in EA4A, Uganda, which includes the failed rift segment of the Lake George basin.

Name of supervisors

Dr. Chris Nicholas

Postgraduate personal details

I graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a B.A. in Geology in 2013. My dissertation focused on the structure and stratigraphy of the Ord Window on the Isle of Skye, Scotland after a 6 week field survey was carried out there in the summer of 2012. After graduating I worked as a research assistant under Dr. Chris Nicholas in the Tropical Geology and Exploration Group in Trinity College where I carried out extensive literature reviews on basins in the East African Rift.

Project Start Date

September 2014


Postgraduate Research Studentship, Trinity College Dublin.

Last updated 27 January 2015