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Asia-Indian Plates Collision and Its Importance to Structural Fabric and Trapping of Hydrocarbons Observed in Arabian Peninsula and SE Asia

Kelsch, Kenneth D.*1; Brunsvold, Lance 4; Sukhdarshan, Kumar 2; Corley, Robert 5; Al-Anazi, Saud 1; Schoenboorn, Greg G.3; Mohammad, Yousef Ahmad 2
(1) Exploration & Appraisal, Wafra Joint Operations, Wafra, Kuwait. (2) Exploration & Appraisal, Kuwait Gulf Oil Company - Ahmadi, Ahmadi, Kuwait. (3) Exploration and Reservoir Characterization Structure Team, Chevron's Exploration Technology Company, Houston, TX. (4) Geophysicis, Chevron's Asia South BU, Bangkok, Thailand. (5) Exploration, Saudi Arabia Chevron, Mina Al-Zour, Kuwait.

The structural development of Arabian Peninsula is thought to result of compressional tectonics. Or is it? The structural development of the Gulf of Thailand (GOT) in general, interpreted to be pure extension. Or is it? Both represent end-points from regional strike-slip tectonics from continent-continent collision of Indian Plate with Asia Plate. Recent publications confirm left-lateral offset with preponderance for transpressional features within Arabian Peninsula while in comparison from GOT to southern Sumatra, evidence of right-lateral offset with transtensional for GOT and mixed mode deformation for Sumatra. In GOT, located within Chevron’s southern area in the UBON/Moragot fields, confirmed inversion structural features suggesting strike-slip tectonics. Arabian Peninsula and into the Partitioned/Divided Zone of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia/Kuwait contains large hydrocarbon filled structures drilled today are a result of transpressional tectonics. In contrast, GOT en-echelon fault systems is transtensional in character containing numerous small accumulations of hydrocarbon trapped along 3-way fault closures.

For Saudia Arabia/Kuwait Partitioned Zone and Arabian Peninsula, the fault framework within the Jurassic is more indicative of single multi-phase inversion fault whereas the en-echelon multi-fault pattern is prevalent within the Cretaceous reservoirs. Boundary faults setting-up transpressional structures trend NS with NNW-trending en-echelon normal faults indicates sigma-1.

Exploring and appraising Eocene to Paleozoic in the Partitioned/Divided Zone of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia/Kuwait can benefit in applying transpressional tectonic style especially when Shmax>Sv for drilling, horizontal well placement and frac operations to enhance production. Lastly, understanding key strike-slip boundary faults directional change from a left-step or right-step vastly display different structural geometries leading to larger (Arabian Peninsula) or smaller but many compartments (GOT) trapping hydrocarbon thus requires different strategies in extracting hydrocarbons.

Our paper emphasizes aspects the continent-continent collision with Asia and Indian plates have in establishing the current structural traps observed within Arabian Peninsula and GOT.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90141©2012, GEO-2012, 10th Middle East Geosciences Conference and Exhibition, 4-7 March 2012, Manama, Bahrain