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AAPG InternationaL Conference d &hibition '94

AugUJt 21-24, 1994, Kuala Lumpur, MalaYJia

Petroleum geology of the Nam Con Son Basin


NGUYEN TRONG TIN AND NGUYEN DINH TY
Vietnam Petroleum Institute (VPI)
Yen Hoa - Tu Liem - Hanoi

Abstract: The Nam Con Son Basin is situated within 6°6'-9°45'N and 106°0'-109°30'E. Its southern
and southeastern boundaries are in the Vietnamese waters which border the neighbouring countries, and
its eastern, northern and western boundaries are on the Vietnamese continental shelf. The exploration
history of the Nam Con Son Basin can be divided into four periods: the Pre 1975 period, the 1976-1980
period, the 1981-1989 period, and the 1990-present period.
The heterogeneous basement of quartz diorite, granodiorite and Mesozoic metamorphic rocks is
unconformably covered by Paleocene-Quaternary sediments composed of the Cau, Dua, Thong-Mang
Cau, Nam Con Son and Bien Dong Formations.
All the geological formations in the Nam Con Son Basin can be divided into two complexes of major
structural elements, the basement composed of Pre-Cenozoic strata and the cover composed of Cenozoic
sediments.
The Nam Con Son Basin can be divided into the following tectonic zones, namely, the Western
Differentiated Zone, the Northern Differentiated Zone and the Dua-Close-to-Natuna Zone.
Good source rock sequences are developed in Oligocene lacustrine claystones and in Miocene fine
grained clastics. Paleogene reservoir rocks include Oligocene clastics and Lower Miocene reservoir rocks.
There are Oligocene and Miocene cap rocks. Potential for both structural and stratigraphical traps are
considered to exist in the N am Con Son Basin.

INTRODUCTION 3. 1981-1989 period


The N am Con Son Basin is situated within During this period, Vietsovpetro - a 50:50
6°6'-9°45'N and 106°0'-109°30'E. Its southern and joint venture between Vietnam and the former
southeastern boundaries are in the Vietnamese Soviet Union - shot a reasonably dense grid of
waters which border the neighbouring countries, seismic lines and drilled wildcat and production
and its eastern, northern and western boundaries wells in some blocks.
are on the Vietnamese continental shelf (Fig. 1). 4. 1990-present period
The exploration history of the N am Con Son Basin
can be divided into four periods (Operators for blocks A number of oil companies are presently
of Nam Con Son Basin, 1978-1993). undertaking geological, geophysical studies and are
involved in drilling activities such as ONGC,
1. Pre 1975 period Enterprise Oil, BP, Shell, BG, Petrocanada, IPL,
During this period, the US Oceanographic Cairn, TG, Lasmo, Pedco, AEDC, Astra Petranusa,
Service undertook an aeromagnetic survey on a BHP and MJC (Le Van Cu et al., 1992; Nguyen
scale of 1:250,000 covering the entire area. Trong Tin, 1993).
In 1968-1969 a regional seismic survey was
conducted by the British Overseas Development GEOLOGY
Department (Alpine). Then during the 1969-1974
period, a number of oil companies such as Mobil
Kaiyo, Pecten etc., carried out geological and Sedimentology and stratigraphy
geophysical studies in some concessions.
Pre-Tertiary formations
2. 1976-1980 period Out of 36 wells drilled in the N am Con Son
A series of companies such as Geco, Deminex, Basin, 19 wells encountered the basement which is
Agip, Bow Valley etc. conducted detailed surveys heterogeneous in its composition and composed of
and drilled 8 wildcat wells in various blocks in the quartz diorite, granodiorite and Mesozoic
basin. metamorphic rocks.

Geol. Soc. MaLaYJia, BuLLetin 57, July 1995; pp. 1-11


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PETROLEUM GEOLOGY OF THE NAM CON SON BASIN 3
Cenozoic formations seismic sequence. It unconformably overlays the
Thong-Mang Cau Formation. This formation is
The heterogeneous basement is unconformably
covered by Paleocene-Quaternary sediments composed of:
• Lower part: Clay, calcareous clay and grey
composed ofCau, Dua, Thong-Mang Cau, Nam Con
sandstones.
Son and Bien Dong Formations.
• Upper part: Whitish grey carbonate and quartz
Cau Formation (Oligocene, Eocene?, Fig. 2). sandstones.
This Formation corresponds to the 'A' seismic At the western margin of Blocks 12,20,21,11-
sequence composed of the Bawahm, Keras, and 1 and 11-2 this formation is mainly composed of
Barat Formations. It is lithologically characterized calcareous clastic sediments.
from bottom to top by: The thickness of this formation varies between
• Brownish grey sandstones intercalated with 100 m and 500 m, locally up to 600 m (Block 04-3).
several beds of silty clay.
Bien Dong Formation (Pliocene-Quaternary,
• A thick bed of dark grey clay intercalated with
Fig. 6). Following AGIP this formation corresponds
light coloured oilstone, locally fine grained and
to the Muda Formation. It constitutes the 'C' seismic
calcareous.
sequence and is developed throughout the basin. It
• Quartz sandstone intercalated with greyish-
black, firm claystone. is Pliocene-Quaternary in age and can be subdivided
• Dark grey, greenish grey clay, intercalated with into two parts:
beds of sandstone, and siltstone. • Upper part: Quaternary in age, composed of
The thickness of this formation varies between quartz sand (angular to rounded) in the lower
200 m and 800 m. section gradually changing to silty clay in the
middle section and quartz sand containing shell
Dua Formation (Lower Miocene, Fig. 3). The fragments in the top section.
sediments of this formation, unconformably • Lower part: Pliocene in age, composed of
overlying the Cau Formation, correspond to the siltstones, friable claystones, and grey
lower part of the Arang Formation and constitute calcareous clays intercalated with white or light
the 'BI' seismic sequence. This formation is yellow quartz sandstone, rich in carbonate and
composed of .light grey, bright-grey sandstone, containing glauconite.
interbedded with blackish-grey silty clay. The main
components of the sandstone are fine to medium The sediments of this formation were deposited
grained, angular, quartz, with carbonate cement, under coastal/marine, shallow to deep marine
and glauconite associated with fossil fragments. conditions. Their thickness varies from several
The thickness of this formation varies from 200 meters to 200 meters.
m to 800 m, locally up to over 1,000 m (Block 05-3).
Tectonic-structural features
Thong-Mang Cau Formation (Middle Miocene,
Fig. 4). The sediments of this formation correspond Faulting
to the middle part of the Arang Formation and
constitute the lower part of the 'B II' seismic In the Natp. Con Son Basin the following major
sequence. The sediments are of clastic origin, fault system exist:
interbedded with biogenic carbonates. The lithology • N-S Fault System: Concentrated in the
of this formation can be divided into two distinct western differentiated zone, sub-zone next to
parts: Natuna
• Lower part: Quartz sandstone and calcareous • NE-SW Fault System
sandstones interbedded with clays and • E-W Fault System
siltstones. Fine to medium grained sandstones • NW-SE Fault System
with carbonate cement and glauconite and fossil
fragments. Structural elements
• Upper part: Light grey, whitish/grey, locally All the geological formations in the Nam Con
reddish brown dolomitized carbonates with Son Basin can be divided into two complexes of
thicknesses varying from 10 m to 100 m. major structural elements (Nguyen Giao and
Intercalated with these carbonates are clays Nguyen Trong Tin, 1990).
friable siltstones and fine grained, calcite- Basement. The basement is composed of Pre-
cemented sandstones. Cenozoic strata. The Nam Con Son Basin developed
Nam Con Son Formation (Upper Miocene, Fig. on the surface of a basement which is heterogeneous,
5). This Formation corresponds to the Tereembu and it is displaced and strongly incised by faults
Formation and constitutes the top part of the 'B II' into subsidence troughs at various levels.

July 1995
4 NGUYEN TRONG TIN AND NGUYEN DINH Ty

DISTIRIBUTION OF OLIGOCENE SEDIMENTS


NAM CON SON BASIN
N

CAMBODIA
,
VIETNAM

26

27
z
38 33
20

28

39 34
o

40 35 29

30 ",,
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D
o
PEDIASTRUM
WELL CONTROL
W MAGNASTRIATITES = MANGROVE P·.t \) I ALLUVIAL, COASTAL

DRAW No AM03IP OZ.COA


Do.. 2 August 94

Figure 2. Distribution of Oligocene sediments, N am Con Son Basin.


Ceoi. Soc . Ma laYJia, Bulletin 37
PETROLEUM GEOLOGY OF THE NAM CON SON BASIN 5

DISTIRIBUTION OF EARLY MIOCENE SEDIMENTS


NAM CON SON BASIN
lOON lOON

CAMBODIA

VIETNAM

126

z
o

26

=
27
z
36 33
134

26

0
39 34
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=

40 35 29

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D MIXED CLASTICS AND LIMESTONES 0 WELL CONTROL ()RAW No AM03POI COR


Date 2 Al.CJUlI c:w

Figure 3. Distribution of Early Miocene sediments, Nam Con Son Basin.


JuLy 1!J!J5
6 NGUYEN TRONG TIN AND NGUYEN DINH Ty

DISTIRIBUTION OF MIDDLE MIOCENE SEDIMENTS


NAM CON SON BASIN
N N

CAMBODIA

VIETNAM

.,
\ .. ' 128

38 33
20

28

o 21

29 22 CAIRN

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I I I I LIMESTONE o WELLCONTROL DRAW No AMOJ P 03 COR


Oa,'" 2 AUJUSI 9-'

Figure 4. Distribution of Middle Miocene sediments, N am Con Son Basin.


GeoL. Soc. MaLaYJia, BuLLetill .17
PETROLEUM GEOLOGY OF THE NAM CON SON BASIN 7

DISTIRIBUTION OF LATE MIOCENE SEDIMENTS


NAM CON SON BASIN
HEN '(liN

CAMBODIA
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VIETNAM

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o WELL CONTROL
DRAW No AM04.P 01 CC*1
Dale 2 AlIJUSI 94

Figure 5. Distribution of Late Miocene sediments, Nam Con Son Basin.


Ju Ly 1995
8 NGUYEN TRONG TIN AND NGUYEN DINH Ty

DISTIRIBUTION OF PLIOCENE SEDIMENTS


NAM CON SON BASIN
N N

CAMBODIA

VIETNAM

131

132

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Figure 6. Distribution of Pliocene sediments, Nam Con Son Basin.


Ceo!. Soc. MaiaYJia, BuLLetin 57
PETROLEUM GEOLOGY OF THE NAM CON SON BASIN 9
Cover. Composed of Cenozoic sediments, and Paleogene reservoir rocks: Oligocene clastics
subdivided into three sequences: deposited under marshy, shallow marine, coastal
• Lower sequence: Composed of the sediments of marine conditions, and mainly composed of quartz
the Cau Formation which is Paleogene in age. sandstones with porosity of 12-16%. Reservoir
• Middle sequence: Composed of the Miocene thickness varies between 2 and 80 m.
sediments of the Dua NIl)' Thong-Mang Cau Lower Miocene reservoir rocks deposited under
(N\), and Nam Con Son (N\) Formations. deltaic, coastal marine and shallow marine
• Upper sequence: Corresponding to the Bien conditions, and mainly composed of quartz
Dong Formation (Pliocene-Quaternary), sandstones and poly-mineral sandstones
composed mainly of clastic and coastal marine intercalated with thin silt and claystone layers.
carbonates. Porosity varies between 18% to 25%. Reservoir
thickness varies between several meters and several
Tectonic zonation dozens of meters.
The Nam Con Son Basin can be divided into the Miocene limestone reservoir have proved to be
following tectonic zones: very prospective with porosities of up to 25%.
The Western Differentiated Zone. This zone Cap rocks
covers Blocks 27, 28, 29, 19, 21 and 22 and it is
mostly characterized by the presence of narrow Oligocene cap rocks (Cau Formation)
deep troughs, major faults accompanying sub-
meridian trending anticlines. This zone is Argillite claystone with shale intercalations and
subdivided into two smaller structural subzones by thin siltstone and fine grained sandstone layers.
the Hau Giang Fault: Clay and shale thickness is between 100-400
• The western marginal sub-zone meters, constituting a good local seal.
• The western differentiated sub-zone Miocene cap rocks
The Northern Differentiated Zone. To the north Shales intercalated with silt and thin
this zone is limited by the Dong N ai Fault, and it sandstone beds mainly deposited in deltaic flank,
is developed along deep troughs in the east. This estuarine/shallow shelf setting providing a good
zone is also subdivided into two smaller units: local seal. The mid-Miocene 45 meters thick shale
• The northern marginal sub-zone sequence can even be considered as a good
• The northern transitional sub-zone in the regional seal.
southwest.
Dua-Close-to-Natuna Zone. The eastern trough Traps
zone comprising: Potential for both structural and stratigraphical
• The northern trough sub-zone traps are considered to exist in the Nam Con Son
• Mang Cau sub-zone Basin (Nguyen Giao, 1987).
• The central sub-zone
In short the existence of the above mentioned Rollover structures
various structural elements reflects the diversity of This trap type is likely to offer one of the most
the basement relief and cover structure as well as prospective plays in the eastern blocks of the N am
the multiphase tectonic activities of the basin. Con Son Basin.
Tilted fault blocks
HYDROCARBON POTENTIAL
These traps are considered to have formed
during the Middle to Late Miocene, and contain
Source rocks MiddlelLower Miocene and Oligocene sediments
Good source rock sequences are developed in which may all be highly prospective.
Oligocene lacustrine claystones with a TOC content
of 0.57-1. 78% and in Miocene fine grained clastics Fractured-weathered basement high
with a TOC content of 0.52-0.84 belonging to the Fractured basement is believed to comprise part
types II and III kerogen type. Source rocks are of the productive horizon in the Bach Ho Field.
widely distributed throughout the basin (Fig. 7).
Reefs
Reservoirs Reefal structures of Miocene age have proved
Pre-Cenozoic fractured basement rocks with to be very prospective in the Nam Con Son Basin,
porosities of up to 16-20%. particularly in the Blocks 04-3, 05-1, 05-2 and 06.

JuLy 1995
PLAY TYPES OF NAM CON SON BASIN

PF
~ME LITH. PLAY I~o R I~I REGIONAL GEOLOGY LITHOLOGY DESCRIPTION REMARKS
MA AGE UNIT iunnJ:1 I'"'" 10;> ... CN
ZONE
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SANDS-MAINLY SHALLOW TO DEEP MARINE .
1. OLIGOCENE
CLASTIC
PLAY
3 ~ ~::-::-:::~:~:-:::::::::
5.2+-,--+--+-,.::r-ir+-4:r-
=1~+';' -~~::=~=_~.--'::=--':~~~.f';;'-:':".-;-:+'N:-::1;-:;:S-:-:1::S+'M::-A-:'I:::N::-:LY:;::M;;-:U::::D::S::::TO::::N:7.E::-_::SH:7A-:'L:-:L-::O:7.W::-:::TO:::--:D::::E:::E::P:-:M:;A:::R:::I:7NE::-.--i 2. MIOCENE
---=-.;.-=---.-:-a
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7 I"""UI-VD
CLASTIC
--.-.. .'.. ~- ~-~
:...:f::. - .L_ OCCASIONAL REEFAL. PLAY
CON
~ );;;-.:.. ' ':'-'...:-~ :os {'. ' -..J--_-:.._12_A+-L_O_C_A_L1_S_ED_S_AN_D_S_~_O_N_E_
. ----------1
10.4- W
Z L
SON
~ r.-.'7' - :": "....... _.. _ 'JIK ;:-_-:..::_ 3. MIOCENE z
G)
"(~: :: ~. ~. . '" . . . . . . MUDSTONE, SANDSTONE AND CARBONATE IN CARBONATE c
'0.:~ ')~::~: .;.:2 .·~.·~.·~ N::~:B
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m
.-;;" ··.... COASTAL PLAIN TO SHALLOW AND DEEP MARINE PLAY z
o M IHONG
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:=.~ 1\ N4-B SANDSTONE, MUDSTONE, REDISH.
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-I
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Z DEVELOPMENT - IN COASTAL PLAIN TO DEEP
~
oW CAU \' . ~: . MARINE IN THE EAST- ALLUVIAL FAN/ FAN
o :/.
~ 1 ~ ~:~ s ? DELTA AND LACUSTRINE SWAMP IN THE WEST.

LOCALLY CONGLOMERATE AT THE BASE.

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FRACTURED AND WEATHERED IGNEOUS ROCKS
PRE BASEM
TER
ClIOw 'Jo At 01 ,POI) COR
DolP J Auguot OJ

Figure 7. Play types ofNam Can Son Basin.


PETROLEUM GEOLOGY OF THE NAM CON SON BASIN 11
The N am Con Son Basin is the largest proven of Tertiary sedimentary basins in East Viet Nam Sea. USSR
oil and gas basin in Vietnam offshore with a number Academy.
of proven oil fields. NGUYEN GIAO AND NGUYEN TRONG TIN, 1990. Structural geology
and hydrocarbon potential assessment of Nam Con Son
Basin. Petrol. Petrol. Vietnam Project Report.
REFERENCES NGUYEN TRONG TIN, 1993. Hydrocarbon potential assessment
of blocks on the Nam Con Son Basin. Petrol. Vietnam
LE VAN Cu, Ho DAc HOAI AND TRAN LE DONG, 1992. Structural Project Report.
geology of marine area Thuan Hai-Minh Hai. Petrol. OPERATORS FOR BLOCKS OF NAM CON SON BASIN, 1978-1993.
Vietnam Project Report. Geophysical, geological and wells reports. Petrol. Vietnam
NGUYEN GIAO, 1987. Structural geology and hydrocarbon potential Project Report.

----------.~.-~~.+.---------

Manuscript received 23 August 1994

JuLy 1995