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Abstract

The intracratonic, supra-subduction zone setting of the Thailand rift basins caused the rifts to evolve in several ways differently from other intracratonic rifts. Key differences include: widespread occurrence of low-angle normal faults; basin inversion alternating with rifting; diachronous initiation and cessation of rifting; rapid post-rift subsidence; and extensive, low-displacement post-rift faults. These characteristics are related to hot, weak continental lithosphere, rapid evolution of the plate boundaries and stresses during the Cenozoic, and the history of subduction and accretion. Low-angle normal faults impacted the Sirikit Field by controlling the location of fluvio-deltaic reservoirs interfingering lacustrine shales (source and seal). Basin inversion alternating with syn-rift section is detrimental to prospectivity of the southern half of the Phitsanulok Basin by destroying syn-rift structure, and halting hydrocarbon maturation early in the basin history. The diachronous timing of basin development resulted in large, gas-dominated hydrocarbon accumulations in the eastern Gulf of Thailand basins, but was detrimental for younger basins that lack the post-rift section, and the greater variety of petroleum systems and traps that post-rift basins offer. The extensive low displacement–length ratio post-rift faults form significant hydrocarbon traps in the Pattani and North Malay basins. They represent a structural style not usually found in post-rift basins.

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