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In 1997 Lasmo Oil Pakistan Ltd (Lasmo) gained a significant position in the offshore Indus Basin with the award of the Indus A and B Blocks. The main hydrocarbon play comprises Miocene shelf-delta sands interbedded with intraformational shale seals and sourced by gas-prone offshore equivalents. Approximately 12000 km of seismic data have been interpreted in the detailed evaluation of these blocks. However, only four wells have tested the preferred play type and no core or rock data were available to provide further insights into facies or age dating. Log data from two key wells in the offshore Indus area record the initial infilling of the basin by shale-dominated basinal or outer shelf sediments, followed by stacked thin-bedded sandstone-shale sequences of a shelf-delta nature. A zone of progradational sequences marks the transition between the two, but no other workable stratigraphic divisions were apparent. Regional seismic correlation established the diachronous nature of the prograding shelf package and this was matched by distinct bands of seismic progrades. A series of simple palaeogeographies of the prograding shelf margin were developed showing initial sediment input from the north and rapid progradation towards the south and west. The Oligo-Miocene basin fill of the offshore Indus Basin appears to be a 'one-step' fill process of a significant depocentre created between the Karachi Platform and the Murray Ridge. Canyons are a very distinct feature on seismic profiles and two main phases of development are apparent. The earlier phase is interpreted to be of Early Miocene age. Downcutting at this time rarely exceeded 400 m. The second phase of canyon development occurred during Plio-Pleistocene time, and these younger canyons often dominate the shallow section, with multiple phases of downcutting sometimes exceeding 1000 m. Where drilled, canyons of both ages have been found to be shale prone. These drilled canyons are interpreted to be on the palaeo-slope where erosion and sediment by-pass occurred during the active phase, and were subsequently filled by fine-grained deposits after abandonment. The two phases of canyoning are considered to relate to phases of tectonic activity in the collision zone between the western margin of the Indo-Pakistan plate and the Eurasian plate.

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