The Cenozoic Song Hong Basin, situated on the northern part of the Vietnamese shelf, has been only sporadically explored for hydrocarbons. A review of the results of the exploration efforts so far shows that the distribution of potential source rocks and their time of hydrocarbon generation are the critical risks for finding commercial amounts of hydrocarbons. In the Song Hong Basin, including the Hanoi Trough, the rocks most likely to have source potential are: (1) oil-prone Eocene-Lower Oligocene lacustrine mudstones and coals, (2) oil- and gas-prone Middle Miocene coal beds, (3) gas-prone Upper Oligocene-Lower Miocene coals, and (4) gas- and oil-prone Miocene marine mudstones. To assess the time of hydrocarbon generation from these units, relative to the formation of traps, the generation history was modelled at 32 well and pseudo-well locations. The modelling demonstrates that the two first-mentioned source rock units are especially important. In the northern and northeastern part of the basin and along its western margin traps may have been charged by Eocene-Lower Oligocene source rocks. In the Hanoi Trough, the excellent Middle Miocene coal beds have probably generated hydrocarbons within the last few million years. Thus the huge and still underexplored Song Hong Basin provides attractive areas for further exploration.
- Programme Area 3: Energy Resources