Australia's Frogtech Geoscience has released a new basement-focused study of the hydrocarbon-rich South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand; a geologically complex region.
The study (South China Sea Seebase) includes new, terrane-based plate reconstructions of the Proto-South China and insights into the tectonic evolution of the region.
The redefinition of the Paleotethys suture, a fundamental tectonic structure, shows that it formed a significant regional rheological and thermal boundary that was important to the evolution of hydrocarbon-rich basin systems through time.
The resulting structural and tectonic model gives petroleum explorers a new understanding of important early rift depocentres that may contain potential source rocks, and the impact of shifting sediment provenance through time.
The South China Sea region has a complex history of rifting that has culminated in hyperextension and local mantle exhumation. These processes have fundamentally influenced the nature and evolution of associated basins and hydrocarbon systems.
Collectively, the study gives explorers foundation knowledge and an important framework to understand the development of petroleum systems elements (reservoir/source/seal) and processes through time. This foundation framework underpins the play-based exploration workflow undertaken by many hydrocarbon explorers, and provides the basis to develop new play concepts that lead to discovery.
The study leverages Frogtech’s integrated use of potential field and geological datasets to provide a hand-contoured, depth-to-basement structural model that overcomes the challenge of seismic imaging of deep basin geometries – particularly in regions of the South China Sea where very thick sediments and extensive carbonates impede resolution of structures at depth.