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North Africa Silurian hot shale has potential

The region has plenty of unconventional oil to exploit. Politics is the only real obstacle

North Africa can lay claim to a long history of searching for unconventional oil, with Egypt first encountering shale oil in the 1940s during phosphate mining activities. But until now the region’s potential has been untapped; no surprise, perhaps, given the bountiful conventional resource base found in Libya, Algeria and Egypt. This may change. Given the extensive resource base – the Silurian “hot shale” is the most important Palaeozoic hydrocarbon source rock in North Africa – the region has received renewed attention in recent years, as a potential source of significant production. Silurian hot shales are slightly radioactive (and therefore detectable) if they have rich organic content,

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