Soro West: A Non-Seismically Defined, Fault Cut-Off Prospect in the Papuan Fold and Thrust Belt, Papua New Guinea
William F. Robinson and Charles M. Swift Jr.
Soro West is a fault cut-off prospect located in the frontal portion of the Papuan Fold and Thrust Belt. Prospective Toro and Imburu sandstones are interpreted to be in the hanging wall of the Soro Thrust. Truncation against the thrust, both updip and through lateral ramps, provides the trapping mechanism.
The Soro West Prospect was defined using geological, geochemical, remote sensing, and geophysical data. The definition and location of the trap is a primary risk and work was focused on this aspect. Surface geological data (lithology, strikes, and dips) topography and synthetic aperture radar imagery were incorporated into the evaluation. Statistical curvature analysis techniques helped define the shape of the structure and the locations of the lateral ramps. Strontium isotope analyses of Darai Limestone surface samples refined erosional levels using a locally-derived reference curve.
Severe karst precludes the acquisition of coherent surface seismic data, so the primary geophysical tool used was magnetotellurics (MT). A detailed, pre-survey feasibility study defined expected responses from alternative structural models. The MT data demonstrated that the limestone at surface is underlain by thick conductive clastics and not another Darai Limestone sheet. The data also constrained the range of fault cut-off positions significantly.
Multiple, three-dimensionally consistent, restorable alternative structural models were created using results from all analyses. These led to a positive assessment of the prospect and an exploratory test is to be drilled in 1996.
AAPG Search and Discover Article #91019©1996 AAPG Convention and Exhibition 19-22 May 1996, San Diego, California