Placing petroleum systems and plays in their basin history context: a means to assist in the identification new opportunities
This article describes a proposed means to envisage the development of plays and petroleum systems in the sedimentary cycle or basin stage context in which they occur. The approach can help to visualise the relat ionship between tectostratigraphic basin evolu tion and potential hydrocarbon resources, and thus assist in prospectivity assessment. It could also provide a valuable framework for the use of analogue play data in exploration. Briefly, the methodology comprises the following ; Characteristic sedimentary basin types, for example syn- to post-rift basins, are sub-divided into their natural tectonic cycles and stages. The latter are then plotted against the depos itional environment-defined lithofacies that typify the basin type. In the matrix produced, the domains of petroleum systems present and the 'trajectories' of defined sedimentary basins or parts of basins are plotted, so that analogous area s can be directly compared. Plays developed in known basins and provinces may then be defined and located in their natural basin-evolutionary and petroleum system environment; In principle , this should make it easier to identify truly appropriate analogue plays, drawn from widespread, possibly global distributions. Use of the concept is illustrated by reference to Tertiary basins in Southeast Asia and in the central and northern North Sea provinces.