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Thailand currently consumes approximately 1.5 million barrels of crude oil equivalence per day (excluding traditional
renewable); and the demand growth for commercial energy is about 5% annually. Approximately 60% of this
demand is imported. To ensure the sustainability of energy supply security, the Thai Government has been
restructuring the energy sector by promoting the use of alternative energy and accelerating the investment of
domestic petroleum exploration and production as shown in Figure 1. These include the use of biofuels, such as
ethanol-based gasohol and palm-oil-based biodiesel, to partially reduce the consumption of gasoline and diesel, and
the use of Natural Gas Vehicles (NGV) in the transportation sector.
Figure 1: Primary Energy Consumption Outlook.
At the end of 2005 Thailands petroleum proven reserves were estimated as 2,300 million barrel oil equivalence.
Approximately 80% of these reserves is natural gas. The Thai Government has achieved in promoting the
development of petroleum exploration and production as clearly recognized from the past (Figure 2). Many oil and
gas fields have been continually developed during the past decade with average daily production rate increased from
30,000 barrel and 1,100 million cubic feet in 1995 to 130,000 and 2,400 in 2006, respectively.
The promotion of gas utilization as fuel in power generation, industrial and transportation sectors as well as feedstock
for petrochemical industry will subsequently initiate gas demand to sharply increase in the next decade. Predicted
number of the gas demand is possibly over 7,000 million cubic feet per day by the end of year 2020 as shown in
Figure 3. Approximately 4,000 million cubic feet per day is expected as the energy supply from domestic source.
Figure 2: Thailand Petroleum Production.
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Figure 3: 20 years gas supply plan.
In response to the rising demand forecast, Thai government is accelerating the exploration and development of
indigenous petroleum resources together with investment by Thais companies for hydroelectricity and gas supplies
from neighboring countries. To enhance the domestic investment attractiveness, revising contractual and fiscal
regimes, expanding of natural gas pipeline network, and opening of new bidding round of petroleum concession are
On recently completion, the 19th bidding round was very successful with 16 awarded concessions covering 21 blocks.
At this time, the 20th bidding round offering 65 exploration blocks located onshore and in the Gulf of Thailand,
providing the great opportunity for E&P investments in the growing Thailands petroleum market.
For decades, hydrocarbons have been discovered and produced from Tertiary and Pre-Tertiary Basins.
ertiary Basins are widely distributed in various parts of the country, onshore (North, Central and South) and offshore
(Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea). Pre-Tertiary Basins, are mainly located in the Northeastern Thailand, comprises
Triassic and Permian Basin.
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With the successful exploration in Fang, Phitsanulok, Suphan Buri, Kamphang Saen and Phetchabun basins, it shows
that the fields in the northern and central parts of Thailand are very high potential. Basins are intermontain Tertiary
basins with relatively narrow and small but deep and high in heat flow. They were formed as series of pull-apart
basins of mainly N-S trending half-graben. Fang basin in the uppermost part of northern, operated by DED, is still
producing oil with production rate approximately 1,000 bbl/d.
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Figure: 4 Stratigraphic Profile of Central Plains
For area in the central, all basins are N-S trending half-graben formed during Tertiary age. The main reservoirs in the
area are Oligocene fluvio-lacustrine sandstone sealed and sourced by shale of similar age. Trap types are rollover
anticlines with tilted fault blocks. Increasing oil production rate from volcanic reservoirs found in Wichian Buri and Si
Thep oil field in Phetchabun basin have been operated by Pan Orient Energy (Thailand) Limited. CNPCHK discovered
Nong Sa oil prospect in L21/43 block adjacent to Bung Ya/Bung Muang oil field.
Meanwhile, MOECO was also successful drilling of the first exploration well named Arunothai-1 in L10/43 block
around Sukhothai depression area.
Five blocks in NorthCentral Plain have been awarded to oil companies during the 19th bidding round. Three blocks in
the North covering Li, Pua and Nan basins are promoted to be interesting for 20th bidding round. These blocks are
needed to prove the petroleum potential regarding they have similar tectonic setting to other successful basins. More
seismic data is required to support the idea. In addition, new technology can help exploring new oil fields effectively.
Figure 5: Regional Basement Map and Top Basement TWT Structural Map in Sukhothai depression
Figure: 6: Seismic section of Western Sukhothai Depression.
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Figure 7: Stratigraphic and Schematic Cross-Section of Wichian Buri Sub-basin.
In the past 24 years, Pattani Tertiary basin is one of the main offshore basins producing Petroleum mainly gas with
condensate. Some areas produce oil e.g. Jasmine oil field in B5/27 block and Nang Nuan oil field in B6/27 block. The
carbonate reservoirs in Chumphon, a half-graben Tertiary basin, were discovered oil reservoir in leached/porous
zones of fault/fracture network at the top of karstification rocks overly Ratburi carbonate operated by PTTEP Siam
Limited with maximum testing rate of 9,702 BOPD.
Figure 8: Stratigraphy of Gulf of Thailand compared with North Malay Basin.
The production from the whole fields within the Gulf is currently reported for gas about 2,000 mmscf/d, condensate
120,000 bbl/d and oil 46,700 bbl/d. Several identified prospects around Nang Nuan field show promising potential
such as Hong Thong, Kra Tae, and Katiya, prospects.
We plan to attack our challenge in many marginal fields such as Bussabong area, a field that may not produce
enough net income to make its worth development. This suggests that technical or economical conditions should
have been changed and a field may become commercially in the future.
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Figure 9: Stratigraphy of Nang Nuan Oil Field.
Figure 10: Seismic along well path and well location of Nang Nuan B02, B-01ST.
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Figure 11: Schematic CrossSection Chumphon Basin (after Hauck, 1995).
Figure 12: Seismic section across Khun Thong prospect (Block G3/50).
Northeastern Thailand or E-Sarn or the Khorat Plateau, occupies 200,000 km2, or one third of the whole country. In
general, the topography of the Khorat Plateau consists of low rolling hills bounded by mountains to the west, south
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and the middle of the region.
The surface data indicate the most area is covered by the Mesozoic sequence (the Khorat Group). Only the western
rim, the outcrops, consists of Triassic (Huai Hin Lat & Kuchinarai Groups) and Permian rocks (Saraburi Group). The
Khorat Group is a greater thickness unit, which is also found the continental sediments. The Huai Hin Lat Group is the
fluvio-lacustrine clastics sediment, which seal the Triassic half-graben. The Kuchinarai Group is defined for the fluvio-
lacustrine sediments, which deposited in the Triassic half-graben. The Saraburi Group comprises of the sediments of
shallow to deep marine depositional environments during the Permian.
Several petroleum exploration wells and seismic data show the Huai Hin Lat, Kuchinarai and Saraburi Groups are
occupied in the basin underneath the Khorat Group in the main area (not only in the western rim). There are two
trends of the Saraburi Group, which deposited in the N-S (the Loei-Phetchabun Fold Belt) and NW-SE (underneath
the Phu Phan mountain range) trends. For the Huai Hin Lat and Kuchinarai Group deposited in the half-graben or
graben that occurred locally but not related to the present structure.
Geochemical analysis, source rocks are shale of the Triassic and Permian rocks. The main reservoir rocks are the
Carbonate rocks of the Saraburi Group. More interested reservoirs rocks is some part of the Triassic rocks with some
petroleum in the Mukdahan structure.
Seismic surveys have been conducted and petroleum exploration wells have been drilled since 1962. Seismic survey
already covered the whole area. Largely, reservoir rocks in this vast region are Permian carbonates contained in
anticlines with reactivated faults, creating fractures and adding porosity to the carbonates. More than 30 wells drilled
here have confirmed this fact, but to date only the Nam Phong and the Phu Horm gas fields have been put on
production. It is expected that more gas fields will be developed in the Dong Mun and Si That structures operated by
Apico LLC. Moreover, the Chonnabot and Talat Sai structures are going to be discovered by PTTEP and Adani port.
However, many prospective structures are still available for challenging to explore and to develop in both carbonate
reservoirs and other reservoirs. Examples of our prospective structures are following. (Please remind that other
prospects, which we do not mention here, are also likely to be high petroleum potentials.)
That Phanom structure, anticlinal with a northwest-southeast trend, this structure lies at the eastern part of the
Khorat Plateau and slightly north of the Kham Pa Lai Structure situated in Mukdahan Province. Seismic data have
revealed that That Phanom was virtually a twin structure of Phu Horm, with the folded Khorat Group overlying a thin
Huai Hin Lat Group. The reflector-free portion is most likely the Pha Nok Khao Formation of carbonate rocks, while
the strong-reflector bottom portion is most likely the Si That Formation of lower clastics rocks. Beneath the Khorat
Group, one finds many faults, which could have caused folding in this area. In addition, there are minor faults, which
could have given the Saraburi Group, the reservoir rocks, more porosity. As regards source rocks, this could be the
Huai Hin Lat Group lying on top along with the Kuchinarai Formation of the Mukdahan Structure, to the south. With
Phu Horm now the largest gas deposit of the Northeast, one could speculate that That Phanom, with a very similar
structure, could one day become a petroleum field.
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Figure 13: Litho-stratigraphy and petroleum system of the Khorat Plateau.
(modified from Sattayarak, 2005; DMF, 2005; Chantong, 2005 and Wanida, 2006: in Thai)
Figure 14: That Phanom structure (seismic line no. UKH91A103, Block L17/50 and L18/50).
Figure 15: Phu Horm structure.
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Figure 16: Chaturat structure (seismic profile no. AHT98-207, Block L21/50, L29/50 and L30/50).
Chaturat structure, another anticlinal structure of virtually N-S trending, covers Amphoe Chaturat of Chaiyaphum
province, southwest of the Chonnabot Structure. Seismic data showed that the structure had resulted from
subsequent actions of thrust faults once the Khorat Group had been deposited. Beneath the Khorat Group is likely to
be the Saraburi Group, cut across by faults. Reflector-free portions are likely to be the Pha Nok Khao Formation or
carbonate rocks. The Saraburi Group of this structure should be highly suitable reservoir rock. The thin, overlying
Huai Hin Lat Group, also to the east, is likely to be the upper clastics also potentially good source rocks. Like
Chonnabot and Nam Phong, Chaturat is a promising structure.
Figure 17: Kalasin structure (seismic profile no. K90A107, Block L16/50).
Kalasin is a structure beneath the horizontal Khorat Group. Below it is the Saraburi Group deposited in Permian
basins of northwest-southeast trending. The shallower side is in the southwest, and the deeper side in the northeast.
This structure is located around Amphoe Mueang of Kalasin province. Seismic data showed that Kalasin was an
extension of the Dong Mun Structure to the northwest. Beneath the Khorat Group is likely to be the Saraburi Group
consisting of reefs, although these reefs are not as distinct as in Dong Mun. Still, despite the appearance of reefs, the
porosity of reservoir rocks may be low, calling for more investigation to define well locations.
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Figure 18: Phu Khieo structure (seismic profile no. PK92-1, Block L15/50).
Phu Khieo structure, covering Amphoe Phu Khieo of Chaiyaphum province, is also anticlinal of NE-SW trending,
resulting from inversion and reactivated faults involving Permian basins that contained the Saraburi Group; yet, the
structure is not so apparent on the surface. Seismic data showed that beneath the Khorat Group were the Huai Hin
Lat Group (or Triassic rocks) and the Saraburi Group. The Saraburi Group had formed anticlines before the Huai Hin
Lat Group was deposited, as seen from the reflector portions of the Huai Hin Lat Group onlapping the Saraburi Group.
Texaco Exploration (Thailand) Co., Ltd., interpreted its seismic data as a paleo-high of the Permian Group of Triassic
age or older. It was assumed that this structure resembled Nam Phong, which was a paleo-high of Permian carbonate
reservoir rocks fractured by tectonics. The company drilled Dao Ruang-1 on 4 April 1993 to test structural-
stratigraphic traps and dolomitic reservoir rocks, whose microfractures were produced by diagenetics. Drilled to
2,423 m, the well encountered Permian carbonate rocks that served as poor reservoir rocks because petroleum was
prevented from accumulation by dolomitic microfractures. Still, the company tested for natural gas at the following
depths: 1,478-1,546 m 146,000 BCFD 1,752-1,176 m 73,000 BCFD and 2,136-2,173 m 132,000 BCFD
Despite the companys acid injection to dissolve rock materials and improve porosity, the Permian Groups dense
texture allowed limited gas flow. With that result, the company put an end to the well.
Phu Khieos problem is its poor reservoirs, as samples from Dao Ruang-1 were very dense, almost without any
fractures. Seismic data showed that the anticlines involving the Saraburi Group had very few faults, which probably
made reservoir rocks tight. Further seismic surveys could locate good reservoir rocks and make the structure more
Figure 19: Khemmarat structure (seismic profile no. DMR96-120, Block L26/50).
Khemmarat structure, covering Amphoe Khemmarat of Ubon Ratchathani province, is another anticlinal structure
of virtually west-east trending and possibly parallel to the Phu Phan mountain range, located southeast of the Non
Sung Structure. Note that there was only one line of seismic record to date, showing a severely folded Khorat Group,
beneath which was probably the Huai Hin Lat, Kuchinarai Saraburi Group, or Permo-carboniferous rocks. Because of
very limited data concerning this structure, further work here is needed to reveal more about it.
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Figure 20: Lam Phra Phloeng structure (seismic profile no. 93NR180, Block L37/50).
Lam Phra Phloeng structure is located at the southwestern edge of the Khorat Plateau of northwest-southeast
trending. Covering Amphoe Pak Thong Chai of Nakhon Ratchasima province, the structure lies near the Lam Phra
Phloeng River. Seismic data showed the uplifted Khorat Group, tapering to the southwest and thickening to the
northeast. Beneath the Khorat Group is likely to be the Kuchinarai Group or the Huai Hin Lat Group cropping out at
Ban Sup Phlu and consisting of shale, black sandstone, and conglomerates. Beneath the Kuchinarai Group and the
Huai Hin Lat Group, reflector portions are most likely to be the Saraburi Group. NW-SE seismic lines indicated
anticlines of the Saraburi Group, Kuchinarai Group, and the overlying Huai Hin Lat Group, with onlaps. It is therefore
highly likely that the Saraburi Group had formed buried hills before petroleum originated in the Kuchinarai Group and
Huai Hin Lat Group and then accumulated in the Lam Phra Phloeng structure, which was highly complex with intense
faulting activities which proved beneficial to reservoir rocks. Many buried hills are found here, so further
investigation of the structure is recommended for possible petroleum development.
Figure 21: Si Kew structure (seismic profile no. 92NR115, Block L29/50 and L37/50).
Si Kew structure, located northwest of the edge of southwestern Khorat Plateau, covers Amphoe Si Kew of Nakhon
Ratchasima province. Seismic data showed that the structure had NW-SE trending, as is Lam Phra Phloeng, and
represented the buried-hill portion of the Saraburi Group at the deepest side of the Triassic graben and the thickest
portion of the Khorat Group. A crucial question then arises whether the petroleum formed here would rise, and if so,
how likely the petroleum is going to accumulate in this structure. A more thorough investigation of the buried history
around the area is in order.
Figure 22: Dan Khun Tod structure (seismic profile no. 92NR55, Block L29/50).
Dan Khun Tod structure, located on a plain north of the Si Kew structure, covers Amphoe Dan Khun Tod of Nakhon
Ratchasima province. Its trending is much the same as those of Lam Phra Phloeng and Si Kew. Seismic data showed
that this structure was located near one edge of the Triassic graben-basin, and that beneath the Khorat Group is the
generally thick Kuchinarai Group, which tapered to the northeast. Reflector portions indicated that buried hills
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underneath these mentioned rocks could be of the Saraburi Group, which formed prospective anticlines. Yet, since
the structure is comparable in risks with Si Kew, additional investigation is called for.
Figure 23: Don Phrai structure (seismic profile no. 92NR195, Block L38/50).
Don Phrai structure, north of the Khorat Plateaus western half, lies southeast of the Lam Phra Phloeng structure
and covers areas between Amphoe Khon Buri and Amphoe Chok Chai of Nakhon Ratchasima province. Seismic data
showed that the structure was of NW-SE trending, with the thick Khorat Group overlying the Kuchinarai Group with
its own basins toward the southwest. The thinner portions of Kuchinarai Group are likely to be the anticlinal Saraburi
Group. This structure is also characterized by faults, but with currently limited data, additional investigation is
required. Note that the structure could well be a continuation of the Lam Phra Phloeng structure.
Figure 24: Lam Nang Rong structure (DMR96-180, Block L55/50).
Lam Nang Rong structure, lying to the southernmost edge of the Khorat Plateau and to the southeast of Don
Phrai, covers Amphoe Nang Rong of Buri Ram province. Only one seismic profile crossed this structure, and therefore
it was surmised that its extent would be parallel to the southern portion of the Khorat Plateau, that is, of SW-NE
trending. Seismic data also showed similarities to other structures mentioned, although this area contains thinner
sections of the Khorat Group. Note that the Kuchinarai Group showed distinct erosional truncation with the Khorat
Group; thrust faults could well have caused inversion of the Triassic graben before the Khorat Group was deposited.
Some portions showed erosional truncation with the Nam Phong and the Phu Kradung Formations. Underlying the
Kuchinarai Group is likely to be an anticlinal Saraburi Group, but because of unclear information, it remains uncertain
whether reservoir rocks would be found in this structure.