Review of principal hydrocarbon-bearing basins around the South China Sea

Author : Ernest P. Du Bois
Publication : Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia
Page : 167-209
Volume Number : 18
Year : 1985

Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia, Volume 18, Nov. 1985, pp. 167 – 209

Review of principal hydrocarbon-bearing basins around the South China Sea


c/o ESCAP, UN Building, Bangkok 2, Thailand.


Abstract: As a consequence of exploration for hydrocarbons, and of research programmes conducted by academic and international institutions, substantial progress has been made in recent years in definition of hydrocarbon-bearing basins, and those potentially so, in southeast Asia and especially in the vicinity of the South China Sea. Basins and depositional provinces now recognized include: the Thai Basin, the Khorat and Panjang Basins, the Malay Basin, West Natuna and Penyu Basins, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh) and Mekong (Vung Tau) Basins, East Natuna area, the Greater Sarawak Basin including Central Luconia and Balingian depositional provinces, the Baram Delta/Brunei-Sabah Basin and the Northwest Palawan Shelf.

Where hydrocarbons have been encountered, the deposits are commonly associated with rocks of Middle and Upper Miocene age. Oliogene and Pliocene occurrences are locally significant.

With some exceptions, most sedimentary basin-fill was deposited within continental to coastal environments. Such sediments are commonly gas-prone. Where oil-prone, there are suggestions that the oil has been generated under conditions of greater thermal maturity.

Stratigraphic correlation depends largely on recognition of cyclic successions by means of integration of information derived from seismic stratigraphic, and palaeontologic and environmental analysis.

Structures are commonly anticlinal and fault-associated; the anticlines are commonly suspected to have diapiric cores. Major transcurrent faults of regional extent may have been instrumental in formation of depositional provinces and anticlinal trends.