Modeling of petroleum generation in the Vietnamese part of the Malay Basin using measured kinetics

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Two-dimensional (2-D) modeling of source rock maturation and hydrocarbon (HC) generation histories were conducted for the Malay-Cho Thu Basin in the Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea. The source rocks comprise Oligocene synrift lacustrine mudstones and coals, postrift coals, and terrigenous-influenced mudstones. Three different lacustrine mudstone source rocks and coals were considered in the 2-D modeling, and each source rock was assigned specific generation potential and kinetics. Measured kinetics for bulk petroleum generation determined on two thermally immature upper Oligocene oil-prone lacustrine mudstones and on a terrigenous-influenced mudstone derived from wells were used together with published coal kinetics. The onshore Krong Pa graben, a small-scale rift basin in central Vietnam, was used as a conceptual model for the distribution of lithofacies, including source rock types, in the 2-D models. Exploration targets and drilled direct HC indicators (DHIs) are mainly located in the tectonically disturbed postrift succession. Modeling results suggest that the risks related to this play are (1) timing of petroleum generation from the oil-prone lacustrine synrift deposits relative to structural trap formation, (2) complex migration pathways through strongly faulted strata, and (3) relatively small kitchen areas. Oil generation from uppermost synrift and postrift coaly source rocks with minor contribution from lacustrine deposits after principal trap formation is consistent with the prominent terrigenous geochemical signature of oils in the Malay-Cho Thu Basin. A new untested play is proposed based on mapping of potential DHIs associated with sandstone bodies in tectonically undisturbed synrift traps.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-536
Number of pages28
JournalAAPG Bulletin
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 3: Energy Resources


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