Abstract

Karst reservoirs in the Chumphon Basin of the Gulf of Thailand have produced oil at well rates exceeding 10 000 BBL/d. Meteorically karstified buried hills were recognized as a potential exploration play. The Nang Nuan discovery well appeared to confirm such a play, and the concept prevailed despite the accumulation of contrary and unusual data. By the time a subsequent well had produced nearly 4 × 106 BBL oil, there was a desire to better understand the prospectivity of the concession. The accumulated data indicate that the highs are probably syn-rift horsts and inversion features. Karst reservoirs occur in Ratburi carbonates, and Mesozoic and Tertiary clastics, apparently unrelated to subaerial exposure. The karstification appears to be primarily of deep-burial origin, as indicated by the nature of the karst, substantial pore volumes that are difficult to account for, and temperature and flow anomalies consistent with active geothermal circulation. There are granites and hot springs in the vicinity, and abundant CO2 in this and neighbouring basins. Such deep-burial karst reservoirs have different implications for reserves estimation, prospect ranking and well completions.

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