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ABSTRACT: Petroleum Prospects for Offshore Sedimentary Basins in the Eastern Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands Regions

Terry R. Bruns, John G. Vedder

Intra-arc basins in the Buka-Bougainville region of Papua New Guinea and in the Solomon Islands contain thick sedimentary sequences

that may be prospective for petroleum. The Queen Emma basin, between Bougainville and New Ireland, contains as much as 8 km of deformed Oligocene and younger strata. The Central Solomons Trough, which underlies New Georgia Sound, is a composite intra-arc basin that contains late Oligocene and younger strata as much as 7 km thick. Farther east, beneath Indispensable Strait, the down-faulted Indispensable basin locally contains as much as 5.4 km of Miocene(?) and younger strata, and the offshore part of Mbokokimbo basin off eastern Guadalcanal includes 6 km or more of late Miocene and younger strata.

All of these basins have some of the attributes necessary to generate and trap petroleum. Structural and stratigraphic traps are common, including faulted anticlines, sedimentary wedges, and carbonate reefs and reef-derived deposits on submarine ridges and along the basin margins. The thickness of the basin deposits ensures that some strata are buried deeply enough to be within the thermal regime required for hydrocarbon generation. However, little source or reservoir rock information is available because of the lack of detailed surface and subsurface stratigraphy. Moreover, much of the basin sediment is likely to consist of volcaniclastic material, derived from uplifted volcanogenic rocks surrounding the basins, and may be poor in source and reservoir rocks. Until additional stratigr phic information is available, analysis of the petroleum potential of these basins is a matter of conjecture.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90097©1990 Fifth Circum-Pacific Energy and Mineral Resources Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii, July 29-August 3, 1990