Modern morphology - ancient analogue: insights into deep water sedimentation on the active tectonic margin of west Sabah

Author : Neil Casson, Mario W Annier, Jeff Lobao & Phlemon George
Publication : Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia
Page : 399-405
Volume Number : 43
Year : 1999

Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia, Volume 43, Dec. 1999, pp. 399 – 405

Modern morphology – ancient analogue: insights into deep water sedimentation on the active tectonic margin of West Sabah


Sabah Shell Petroleum Company, Locked Bag No. 1, 98009 Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia


Abstract: The potential for long term growth of the EP sector within Sabah is heavily dependent on the successful exploration and development of the deep water Middle/Late Miocene-Pliocene turbidite play offshore West Sabah.

With the top ranking prospects in this frontier area all lying in water depths in excess of 900 m, a major challenge is to optimise the use of the limited available data in reducing reservoir related risks and developing new play concepts. This requires an understanding of the complex interaction of sedimentary and tectonic processes along this under-explored, active tectonic margin.

The application of analogues taken from the “classical” turbidite provinces (e.g. Gulf of Mexico) is not seen as directly applicable. There is an exceptionally large height differential of 7 km, over the relatively short distance of 200 km between the sedimentary hinterland and the base of the continental slope offshore West Sabah. This setting coupled with the intense and continued transpressional tectonic activity along the margin affords a different perspective on deep water sedimentation from the better known passive continental margins. As such new models and concepts are being developed to explain many of the observations noted within the area from both wells and seismic.