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The surface geology of NE Thailand consists almost entirely of Jurassic to Mid-Cretaceous Khorat Group red-beds. During the last 30 years, however, hydrocarbon exploration has resulted in 40 deep wells being drilled through the Khorat Group cover into an extensive system of Late Triassic (Kuchinarai Group) and Mid–Carboniferous to earliest Late Permian (Saraburi Group) basins. The sedimentary fill of these basins has proved to be similar to the Upper Carboniferous–Triassic strata which crop out to the west and SW in the Loei–Phetchabun Fold Belt (Fig. 9.1). In addition, an extensive grid of two-dimensional (2D) seismic lines covers almost the entire region (Fig. 9.2) and can be used to map out the basin systems containing the Saraburi and Kuchinarai Groups.

Most of the seismic and well data have been released by Thailand’s Department of Mineral Fuels and, wherever possible, reference is made only to these open-file reports. The reader should bear in mind that a large part of the geological history presented in this chapter is a synthesis of work that was conducted by many different oil company and government geologists. However, much of this work has never been published and is only recorded in company reports (often without the names of the authors). Consequently, proper reference cannot be made to many of the geologists who conducted this pioneering work.

At the present day the so-called Khorat Plateau is in reality a relatively flat plain, generally 150-200 m above sea level, rimmed by low mountains and a

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