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Abstract: Sequence Stratigraphy Applied to the Hydrocarbon Productive Basins of Western Indonesia

Steven Courteney

Oil exploration began in Indonesia in 1870, and the first commercial discovery was made in 1885 in the North Sumatra basin. Since then, over 3000 exploratory wells have been drilled in western Indonesia, with about 750 discoveries reported. By the end of 1992, over 300 fields in eleven geological basins were producing in western Indonesia, and 100 more fields were either shut in or had been abandoned. However, despite the fact that western Indonesia is a mature hydrocarbon province, all published work of a regional nature, and indeed most internal company reports, use lithostratigraphy and, to a lesser extent, biostratigraphy.

Lithostratigraphy is based, often unwittingly, on pre-1960s work, when only relatively shallow wells and limited seismic data were available. Additional difficulties arise from companies using alternative names for a rock unit and the same formation name for different rock units. Biostratigraphy is handicapped by the lack of age diagnostic fossils in the early Miocene and older sediments in most of Sumatra and Natuna. In Java and Kalimantan, where the older section tends to be more marine and age diagnostic fossils are present, significant errors in age determination occur due to reworking of sediments.

As a consequence, the "hydrocarbon system" in western Indonesia is inadequately understood, and exploration efforts are often poorly applied. This paper proposes a correlative framework using sequence stratigraphy for the hydrocarbon productive basins of western Indonesia, which should contribute to a better understanding of the hydrocarbon system and significantly reduce exploration risk in western Indonesia.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90982©1994 AAPG International Conference and Exhibition, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, August 21-24, 1994