ABSTRACT: Hydrocarbon Potential, Southwest Sulu Sea, Philippines
Selmer L. Pederson
The Southwest Sulu Sea area lying within Philippine territorial waters is the next "hot spot" for exploration interest and activity. This follows the 1989 discoveries by Occidental at Camago 1 (lower Miocene reef) and Alcorn's successful horizontal drilling activities at Galoc field in lower Miocene turbidite sandstones in the SW Palawan basin (offshore northwest Palawan).
The Southwest Sulu Sea area contains three Tertiary subbasins with water depths of a few feet down to depths of 3280 ft (1000 m). These are the Balabac, Bancauan, and Sandakan subbasins from northwest to southeast.
Hydrocarbons have been tested in the Sabah sector of the Sandakan basin at Nymphe Norde 1 (508 BC/D with 3.9 MMcfg/d). Minor oil and gas shows were also found in the Superior 333-1 well in the Philippine sector of the Sandakan subbasin. There have been only two exploratory tests drilled in the Bancauan subbasin and only one in the Balabac subbasin. None of the latter three wells are considered valid structual tests for oil and/or gas. Many untested large structures and structural leads, good Tertiary reservoirs, seal, and source rocks are present in all of the subbasins. New modern exploration activities could lead to future discoveries of significant oil and gas accumulations (100 to 500 million bbl class) in the Philippine sector of the Southwest Sulu Sea.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90097©1990 Fifth Circum-Pacific Energy and Mineral Resources Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii, July 29-August 3, 1990