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Frontier Basins of Southeast Asia: A Review of their Hydrocarbon Potential
From an inventory of South East Asian sedimentary basins nearly 70% are identified as frontier basins which have no significant hydrocarbon production. Frontier basins contain an estimated 22% of the ultimate recoverable oil reserves and this will gain in importance as known reserves are gradually depleted from producing basins.
The sedimentary basins fall into sixteen types of which frontier basins are disproportionately represented in the oceanic domain. This distribution can be readily explained by considering a comparison of frontier basin attributes verses those attributes favourable to the generation of hydrocarbons in producing basins.
On a broad scale, frontier basins located in the region dominated by oceanic South East Asia and oceanic Philippine plate convergence are less prospective than those basins located in the region dominated by oceanic-continental convergence, as is the case of both the northern Australian collision margin and the subducting Sunda margin. Rift and wrench related basins in cratonic domains also provide attractive frontier basins.
Conversely, sufficient exceptions exist which highlight those conditions under which the prospectivity of oceanic domain frontier basins may be enhanced. These are discussed together with specific examples.
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