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Recent Gas Exploration on the Khorat Plateau of Thailand and Laos - A Tough Nut To Crack!

Comrie-Smith, Nick¹; Booth, John E.²; Koysamran, Suwisa¹; Lawlor, Michael¹
¹Exploration, Salamander Energy, Bangkok, Thailand.
²Exploration, Auldana Advisors Corporation, Bangkok, Thailand.

Hydrocarbon exploration of the Khorat Plateau of Thailand and Laos, has been ongoing since the late 1960's. The western part of the area has seen success with two producing gas fields: Nam Phong and SinPhuHorm, which supply approximately 100MMscf/day of gas to an electricity generation plant near Khon Kaen. The primary reservoir is a Permian carbonate, which exhibits secondary porosity in the form of fracturing and hydrothermal related leaching, the distribution and origin of which is poorly understood. Over 25 wells have been drilled, the majority targeting the carbonate, but fewer than half encountered this reservoir facies. A secondary play exists in the overlying Mesozoic sandstones.

This talk will focus on exploration activities in the area by Salamander Energy over the past 5 years, operating exploration licences in Thailand and Lao PDR. During that period several 2D and 3D seismic surveys have been acquired and three wells drilled. Despite the application of 3D seismic related fault and fracture identification technologies, geomechanical analysis and the use of deviated wells, drilling results have been disappointing. Although all wells have encountered Permian carbonate and gas, none have flowed at commercial rates on test. The results have been mirrored in a number of exploration wells drilled by other operators during this period.

The results of these wells will be shown along with a review of the perceived petroleum system in the Khorat. Suggested reasons for failure and lessons learned will also be presented.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90155©2012 AAPG International Conference & Exhibition, Singapore, 16-19 September 2012