You are Home   »   Events   »   South East Asia exploration - where are the big fields hiding? Agenda

South East Asia exploration - where are the big fields hiding?

Are the big SE Asia fields in deepwater (eg Pearl River Mouth) - or remote areas like West Papua?
Andrew Lodge
» Principal
» StrategicFit
Alan Williams
» Oil & Gas Manager
» Fugro NPA Ltd

Full Agenda

Tuesday, February 21, 2012
The Geological Society

China claims “indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and adjacent waters” based on centuries’ old rights that allow its maritime border to reach almost to Borneo; these claims bring it into dispute with Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan.

This renewed interest is based on China’s need for resources and its assessment that there may be 200 billion barrels of oil, as well as 2,000 Tcf of gas, under the South China Sea. Does the history, and recent experience, of exploration in this region – and in South East Asia more generally - indicate that such huge resources may remain undiscovered and if Yes, where might they be?

Reflecting on the raw data of South East Asian exploration success rates, discovery sizes and finding costs, both Wood Mackenzie# and IHS# assert that:

  • Since around 2003, the number of discoveries has been rising slowly but the resource additions have been dropping
  • Whilst exploration success rates are more or less holding up, discovery sizes are dropping: average field recoverable size: 5-10 MMbbl for oil fields; 5-20MMboe for gas fields; overall, gas is more prominent
  • Discovery costs ($/boe) are rising more rapidly than elsewhere and so there is competitive pressure from other regions
  • Whilst exploration is just about profitable globally, in SE Asia it is not.

Thus, this broad brush summary would suggest that much of SE Asia is Mature for exploration. However, SE Asia is large with a complex geological history and complex politics and Longley# has pointed out that recent and planned activity gives plenty of encouragement at the play level:

  • The last two years have delivered a variety of material discoveries around the region: both in “Frontier” areas and in new plays in “Mature” areas; by large and small companies; using old and new technologies
  • Results have demonstrated that significant exploration potential remains; both in accessible areas and in areas preserved due to boundary disputes
  • Many already identified exciting plays will be drilled and tested in the next 2 years; and there is no reason that this should not continue into the foreseeable future.

Where are the “Giants” lying in wait? The hopes for “Giant” fields would either be Deep Water – as exemplified by the Deepwater Pearl River Mouth and some of Indonesia - or more remote areas – as exemplified by West Papua, in both cases where new play ideas and new technology may be deployed.

Equally, it must be said that some areas, such as the Makassar Straits, have proved disappointing and that the technical approach# to some of the onshore areas - such as onshore Borneo; northern Thailand - seems to be bereft of any modern technologies, for example gravity gradiometry or wireless (3D) seismic.

Our February Forum, organised in conjunction with SEAPEX (South East Asia Petroleum Exploration Society), will examine where big fields and major resoruces remain to be discovered.

# as presented at the SEAPEX Conference, Singapore, April 2011. For further information, follow this link.


9:30 David Bamford -
New Eyes Exploration

Welcome & Introduction

David Bamford is well known around the oil & gas industry both as an explorer and a geophysicist. He holds a Physics degree from the University of Bristol and a Ph.D in Geological Sciences from the University of Birmingham.

Since 2004, he has been a non-executive director at Tullow Oil plc, being recruited for this position especially for his exploration knowledge. He serves on the Nominations and Remuneration Committees, and was chairman of the latter, and Senior Independent Director, for 3 years prior to his retire from the board at the end of April 2014.

He was on the board of Premier Oil from May 2014 to May 2016.

He retired from BP plc in 2003, his last four positions being Chief Geophysicist (1990-1995), Business Unit Leader (General Manager) for first West Africa and then Norway (1995-1999), and finally Head of Exploration until 2003.

He has served on the boards of Paras Ltd, a small exploration and IS/IT consulting company in which he held 22% equity, until its sale to RPS Energy in 2008 and Welltec a/s, a Danish well engineering company, as the nominee of the private equity investor Riverside.
From 2012 to 201 he was on the board of ASX-quoted Australia Oriental Energy as a non-executive director.

He was a founder of Richmond Energy Partners, a small oil & gas research house, and several media companies that focus on the oil & gas sector, and has served as an advisor to Alliance Bernstein, Opus Executive, the Parkmead Group plc, and Kimmeridge Energy LLP. Since retiring from BP, he has undertaken asset and company valuation projects for investment banks, hedge funds and small oil companies.

New Eyes Exploration
New Eyes Exploration, founded by David Bamford, explores new ways to discover Oil and Gas.
9:40 Ben Cahill - Research & Advisory Manager
Energy Intelligence

Geo-politics of the South China Sea region

View PDF   
Manager in the Research & Advisory practice at Energy Intelligence Group, focusing on above-ground country risk for upstream investors.

Specialties - Country risk; politics and oil sector developments in Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and the Gulf states

Energy Intelligence
Energy Intelligence has been a leading independent provider of objective insight, unbiased analysis
10:15 Andrew Lodge - Principal

Where are the big fields hiding? A Premier perspective!

View PDF   
Andrew is now a Principal at StrategicFit and a Non-Executive Director at Egdon Resources.

Previously, he joined Premier Oil plc’s Board as Exploration Director in April 2009 from Hess where he was Vice President, Exploration, responsible for Europe, North Africa, Asia and Australia for nine years. Prior to that, he was Vice President, Exploration, Asset Manager and Group Exploration Advisor for BHP Petroleum, based in London and Australia. Prior to joining BHP Petroleum, Andrew worked for BP as a geophysicist. He has an honours degree in Mining Geology from the University of Wales and a Masters in Applied Geophysics from the University of Leeds. He is a fellow of the Geological Society.

He retired from Premier Oil in June 2015.

StrategicFit is a strategy consulting firm specialising in the upstream oil and gas industry.
10:50 Coffee & Tea
10:50 Chris Atkinson - London chapter co-ordinator
South East Asia Petroleum Exploration Society (SEAPEX)

Introduction to SEAPEX

SEAPEX, or the South East Asia Petroleum Exploration Society is a non-profit organization that was e
11:15 Jamie Higton -
Landmark Exploration Insights

Integrating eustasy and tectonics in SE Asia and why it matters

Talk Description
An in-depth study of much of the published geological data for the South-East Asia region has been carried out by Neftex over the past five years. This has involved the calibration of the regional stratigraphy to a proprietary global sequence stratigraphic model by using the available biostratigraphic data. Mega-Regional stratigraphic correlations from basin to basin make it possible to evaluate petroleum systems elements both in terms of their relationship to global sequence systems tracts as well as their relevance to regional or local tectonic events. The global eustatic signal is affected by the interaction of tectonics and will thus be enhanced or dampened locally. Distinguishing which tectonic events are localised or more widespread is not only useful in aiding speculation on their causal mechanisms but also has significant importance in determining the deposition and distribution of potential source rock and reservoir units in underexplored basins.
Landmark Exploration Insights (formerly Neftex), is a product family within Landmark, a business lin
11:50 Alan Williams - Oil & Gas Manager
Fugro NPA Ltd

Seeps and giant fields in SE Asia ; can offshore satellite seep detection replicate the success of the onshore seepage pioneers?

Talk Description
Onshore oil and gas seeps are well known across SE Asia and drew the early explorers to the region as far back as 1865, with the first commercial success coming soon after in 1885 in N.E. Sumatra and the formation of the Royal Dutch Company in 1880. The rest is history.

Offshore seepage detection using multiple pass, satellite SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) is now established as a viable exploration technology for screening offshore basins for active oil seeps, especially in remote or deep water basins. However, the technique is not universally effective and best results require both optimal acquisition conditions (specifically wind speed) and a leaky basin system. Such seepage enhancement factors can be basin overpressure, recent or present day generation from rich oil -prone source rocks, active tectonics and high GOR oils. In parts of S.E. Asia, many of these key controls on trap leakage exist, particularly in tectonically active basins with shallow cutting faults to surface. However, some geochemical factors such as the waxy (low GOR) nature of lacustrine oils from the Palaeogene syn-rift mega-sequences may mitigate against seep formation in contrast to leakage from the Miocene post-rift mega-sequences.

The issue of heavy ship pollution in some parts of SE Asia plus the link between enhanced seepage and earthquake activity will also be explored.
Graduated back in the Jurassic era in Geology from Swansea and in Geochemistry from Leeds.

Over 40 years experience, 30 of them in the oil and gas industry.

Joined BP in 1979, initially to run the Geochemistry Review Group and latterly as the lead interpreter for BP’s high profile ALF Project. This culminated in him running a highly successful integrated seep detection project in the Gulf of Mexico – the Glass Clock Project – immediately after which he was made redundant in the Lord Bowne purge of 1992.

Since then has transitioned to the dark side as a contractor and has worked with a number of service companies including World Geoscience, NRSC (now Infoterra) and, saving the best for last, NPA (Nigel Press Associates) who were painlessly subsumed into the Fugro mother ship in April 2008.

Fugro NPA Ltd
Fugro NPA is the world leader in satellite interpretation for the oil and gas industry. Their servic
12:25 Kjell Johansen -

Phu Khanh Basin, one of the last frontier areas in SE Asia

View PDF   
Talk Description
Phu Khanh Basin, offshore Vietnam; One of the Last Exploration Frontier in SE Asia

Kjell Bugge Johansen* , Andrew Botsford* and Suvimol Maingarm**

PGS, in cooperation with PetroVietnam, has acquired approximately 14,540 km of modern long offset MC2D seismic data in the Phu Khanh Basin (PKB), located in the south-western part of the South China Sea . In addition, a further 2,688 km was acquired to the southeast mostly over and close to the present South China Sea spreading center.

The area is structurally complex, with several different structural trends. Seismic data, supported by gravity and magnetic data clearly demonstrates that the one of main structural trend over the north-eastern part of area has a NNE-SSW orientation. The coastal area is dominated by a N-S trend, referred to as the East Vietnam Fault Zone (EVFZ), which is the southern extension of the Red River Fault Zone.

The area has two main tectono-stratigraphic units, defining separate phases of rifting followed by compression. The first unit comprises an initial rift phase of Paleogene (?Late Eocene-Oligocene) age which has up to 2-3 km of sediment fill, believed to comprised mainly of continental-lacustrine clastics, indicated by their seismic character. The sediment along EVFZ has undergone a significant phase of inversion/compression, probably in the Late Oligocene, related to transpressional wrench movement along the EVFZ. This movement has also created one of the main trap types in PKB The second tectono-stratigraphic unit results from a basin wide rift phase in the Early-Mid Miocene, which was followed by a second phase of compression and basin inversion in the Mid-Late Miocene. The Late Miocene – Pliocene time was dominated by a sag phase with deposition of up to 3s TWT of sediment in the deepest part of the PKB, and deposition of extensive slope and basin floor fans.

The seismic data demonstrates the presence of a large number of structural leads defined by Paleogene rotated fault blocks and horsts, where some have been modified by later compression in Late Oligocene and Mid Miocene creating structural traps and e combined structural/stratigraphic leads. Some of these leads have the potential to be very large. The reservoirs for the Paleogene plays consist of continental, fluvial sandstone reservoirs hosted in the syn-rift section. Middle-Early Miocene reservoirs are most likely shallow marine-deltaic clastics. In addition, reefs and platform type carbonates are believed to be developed on some of the structural highs. The area also has very extensive sequences of stacked slope and basin floor turbidites in the central and northern part of the area, which may represent an excellent play.

The presence of gas chimneys and oil seeps along the coastal areas, plus oil in wells (such as 124-CMT-01X along the margin of the PKB and Tri Ton Horst), and the recent large gas discovery in block 118 indicates that the area has a working petroleum system. It is believed that non-marine to marginal marine or lacustrine mudstones and coals/coaly mudstones confined to the Paleogene syn-rift basins represent the main source rocks in this area. These are up to 3 km thick in parts of the PKB. The seismic character in some of the rift basins also supports the presence of a non-marine depositional environment. Early Miocene coaly mudstones may also represent a potential source, where it is buried deep enough to be thermally mature.

The PKB is non-explored and represents one of the last frontier areas along the Vietnam East Sea margin. It may have significant commercial hydrocarbon potential, due to the presence of a working petroleum system and numerous leads. The main risks are the presence of valid reservoir rocks, quality and level of maturation of source rocks, and risk of high CO2

* Petroleum Geo-Services, Singapore
**Petroleum Geo-Services, Houston
PGS is a leading, international, marine geophysical company. Our business is technology driven and w
13:00 Raffle prize, then lunch & refreshments (event close 2pm)

Join 10,000 oil & gas professionals who attend our events and receive our newsletter.


The Atlantic Conjugate Margins: An Exploration Strategy
by Ron Borsato from PGS

"Well researched quality presentations....beyond conventional ppt format."


We are planning a further webinars program for 2024 -
If you may have an interesting story to share, please contact
Karl Jeffery on