The Main Challenges for the New Exploration Ideas and Concepts; Do We Dare to be Different?
Mohamad, Hamdan, Roslan, M.H.; Syazwan, T.M.
PETRONAS Carigali Sdn Bhd, Level 16, PETRONAS Twin Tower 2, KLCC 50088 Kuala Lumpur.
Introduction and Summary
The explorations for new hydrocarbon plays are most challenging especially in matured basins. In the past, the easier exploration plays were found in simple and conventional structural plays. However, future innovative exploration will focus on non-conventional plays such as stratigraphic traps, shallow and subtle structural plays, fractured basement, deep-seated reservoirs, deep pinnacle carbonates, deep-seated high pressure and high temperature (HPHT) reservoirs, ponded turbidites, pre-salt and possibly even synclinal plays. All these can be realized through creative and innovative exploration ideas and application of new technologies to discover new hydrocarbon accumulations.
Today, seismic technology has improved tremendously to become an integral part of new play exploration. It is recognized that new innovative exploration in matured basins mostly have exploration targets that are associated with higher geological risks, uncertain size of accumulations and involved very challenging and difficult environments from time to time e.g.HPHT
New Play exploration
Exploration for new plays has become very important as evidenced by a few large discoveries in pre-salt basins in Brazil and fractured basement plays in Vietnam. However, most new discoveries were found in very challenging environments such as deep reservoirs which incur high operational costs e.g. HPHT which requires specific expertise, industry experience and skill. Furthermore, all these plays - stratigraphic traps, ponded turbidites and shallow reservoirs are mostly associated with higher geological risks.
Recent examples in pre-salt, fractured basement and stratigraphic channel indicated very encouraging well results. In Malaysia, stratigraphic traps associated with shale diapirism, shallow clastics and fractured basements have been shown to be successful. Granted that some of these new discoveries are related to higher geological risks, further de-risking and risk mitigation efforts especially through seismic studies and re-processing are needed to improve imaging and reduce geological uncertainties. Some others emerging plays which can be further pursued, such as ponded turbidites, inter-carbonate reefs, shale diaper stratigraphic, pre-tertiary carbonates and truncation plays are relatively promising for future exploration.
Malaysian Case Studies Examples
This paper documents our recent findings and lessons learnt in new play identification and exploration in Malaysian Basins. The plays presented here include;
1) Shallow and subtle structures
2) Deep pinnacles and inter-reef stratigraphic plays
3) Fractured basement (carbonate, granite and meta-sediments)
4) Stratigraphic traps associated with shale diapirism
5) Synclinal plays
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90155©2012 AAPG International Conference & Exhibition, Singapore, 16-19 September 2012