--> ABSTRACT: South-East Asia Exploration Activity - 2000 and Beyond, by Bandal, Simran; Jacques, John M.; Whibley, Michael; #90155 (2012)

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South-East Asia Exploration Activity - 2000 and Beyond

Bandal, Simran¹; Jacques, John M.²; Whibley, Michael¹
¹Kris Energy Limited, Singapore, Singapore.
²JMJ Petroleum, Singapore, Singapore.

This paper provides an extensive review and evaluation of exploration activity for the past decade across SE Asia, covering Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia. The review looks at the relationship of upstream licences (blocks) awarded versus oil price, the number of exploration wells drilled over this period, the number of discoveries made per year and their respective reserve size. In so doing, each country has been assessed, not only in terms of ‘Ease of Doing Business', such as business-friendly regulations, additional tax incentives, its fiscal terms and the block bidding system but also in terms of its political stability and the availability of data. A full suite of these exploration opportunities are presented, covering a variety of tectonostratigraphic environments and play types, providing an invaluable insight into current exploration focus and, more importantly, what has worked, what has not, and what is next.

Analysis of a commercially available database shows that the SE Asian exploration acreage take-up rate and deal flow continues unabated, seemingly irrespective of oil price and recent E&P success. Additionally, the number of exploration wells drilled over this period (2001 to 2010) remained relatively consistent (105-140 range; except 2003 - 80 wells), with 15-20 discoveries per year. Although the average reserve size shows a general decrease from 2001 through 2010, this appears at odds with recent finds within Vietnam (Premier, Exxon, Petronas), Indonesia (Exxon, Genting) and the Philippines (Exxon). This discrepancy may be explained by a normal 3+ year time lag between discovery and development.

Although conventional play type opportunities still exist in all the reviewed countries, the reduction in the number of drillable targets and their respective reserve size, signifies a new era of exploration activity and focus. An era, whereby, as exploration geologists, we return to the "lost art" of generating detailed predictive play maps as a means of extending our knowledge from established plays into relatively unknown areas of a basin and for defining new play concepts in frontier areas. This is not too dissimilar from the 1960's and the pioneering work undertaken across the region by such geologists as Don Todd and Dick Murphy. The major advantage now is the wealth of data available, including both well and seismic across large parts of SE Asia. The question will be - how best to use it?


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90155©2012 AAPG International Conference & Exhibition, Singapore, 16-19 September 2012