Distribution of source rocks and maturity modelling in the northern Cenozoic Song Hong Basin (Gulf of Tonkin), Vietnam

C. Andersen, A. Mathiesen, L.H. Nielsen, P.V. Tiem, H.I. Petersen, P.T. Dien

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The northern offshore part of the Cenozoic Song Hong Basin in the Gulf of Tonkin (East Vietnam Sea) is at an early stage of exploration with only a few wells drilled. Oil to source rock correlation indicates that coals are responsible for the sub-commercial oil and gas accumulations in sandstones in two of the four wells which have been drilled on faulted anticlines and flower structures. The wells are located in a narrow, structurally inverted zone with a thick predominantly deltaic Miocene succession between the Song Chay and Vinh Ninh/Song Lo fault zones. These faults are splays belonging to the offshore extension of the Red River Fault Zone. Access to a database of 3,500 km of 2D seismi c data has allowed a detailed and consistent break-down of the geological record of the northern part of the basin into chronostratigraphic events which were used as inputs to model the hydrocarbon generation history. In addition, seismic facies mapping, using the internal reflection characteristics of selected seismic sequences, has been applied to predict the lateral distribution of source rock intervals. The results based on Yükler 1D basin modelling are presented as profiles and maturity maps. The robustness of the results are analysed by testing different heat flow scenarios and by transfer of the model concept to IES Petromod software to obtain a more acceptable temperature history reconstruction using the Easy%R o algorithm. Miocene coals in the wells located in the inverted zone between the fault splays are present in separate intervals. Seismic facies analysis suggests that the upper interval is of limited areal extent. The lower interval, of more widespread occurrence, is presently in the oil and condensate generating zones in deep synclines between inversion ridges. The Yükler modelling indicates, however, that the coaly source rock interval entered the main window prior to formation of traps as a result of Late Miocene inversion. Lacustrine mudstones, similar to the highly oil-prone Oligocene mudstones and coals which are exposed in the Dong Ho area at the northern margin of the Song Hong Basin and on Bach Long Vi Island in Gulf of Tonkin, are interpreted to be preserved in a system of undrilled NW-SE Paleogene half-grabens NE of the Song Lo Fault Zone. This is based on the presence of intervals with distinct, continuous, high reflection seismic amplitudes. Considerable overlap exists between the shale-prone seismic facies and the modelled extent of the present-day oil and condensate generating zones, suggesting that active source kitchens also exist in this part of the basin. Recently reported oil in a well located onshore (B10-STB-1X) at the margin of the basin, which is sourced mainly from "Dong Ho type" lacustrine mudstones supports the presence of an additional Paleogene sourced petroleum system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-184
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Petroleum Geology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources


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