Neogene stratigraphy, structure and petroleum potential of the Oiapu-Yule Island-Oroi Region, Papua New Guinea

Author : G. Francis, R. Rogerson, D.W. Haig & J. Sari
Publication : Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia
Page : 123 – 152
Volume Number : 19
Year : 1986

Bulletin of the Geological Society of Malaysia, Volume 19, April 1986, pp. 123 – 152

Neogene stratigraphy, sedimentation and petroleum potential of the Oiapu-Yule Island-Oroi Region, Papua New Guinea


1Geological Survey of PNG, P.O. Box 778, Port Moresby, PNG

2Department of Geology, University of Papua New Guinea, Box 4820, University P.O., PNG


Abstract: The Oiapu-Yule Island-Oroi region is an onshore and offshore triangular area bounded approximately by I45°30‘E 8°00‘S, l46°30‘E 7°45‘S and l47°00‘E 9°20‘S. It lies within the Mesozoic to Cainozoic Papuan Basin. Geological mapping and stratigraphic/structural studies carried out since 1982 by members of the Geological Survey of Papua New Guinea and the University of Papua New Guinea Geology Department have led to a greater understanding and revision of the geological history and petroleum potential of this region. The Miocene sequence has been found to consist largely of bathyal mudstones and turbiditic sandstones (Aure association). However, convergent deformation initiated a phase of folding in latest Middle Miocene times, culminating with thrusting in the Late Miocene and creating the south-eastern Papuan Fold Belt. This deformation was associated with basaltic vulcanism which gave rise to the pyroclastics and volcaniclastics of the Talama Formation. In the cores of some rising anticlines, neritic conditions were established giving rise to local carbonate buildups such as the Ou-Ou Limeston Member. Within anticlinal cores, rocks of the Aure association and Talama Formation were often eroded and unconformably overlain by the latest Miocene/Early Pliocene Orubadi beds.

During the Early Pliocene there was a general regression and an influx of coarser detritus from rising mountainous areas to the northeast, giving rise to the inner neritic and terrestrial Era beds. There was a second phase of thrusting in Late Pliocene/Early Pleistocene times.

Most of the thrusts and fold hinge surfaces formed in these two phases of deformation dip to the northeast, though some structures dip to the southeast. The fold-and-thrust structures provide potential traps for petroleum, and suitable reservoir rocks occur in the pyroclastics, volcaniclastics and carbonates of the Talama Formation. The southeastern part of the fold belt has a long history of unsuccessful exploration, largely because of complex mesoscale geology and because the macroscale structure was not understood. Consequently most exploratory wells were drilled off-structure and failed to penetrate their target horizons within areas of closure. Current knowledge of the regional palaeogeography and structure is a key factor upon which a more successful exploration programme might be based.

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