Locations of 23 provinces of southeast Asia assessed in this study



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Figure 1.  Locations of 23 provinces of southeast Asia assessed in this study.

Thai Basin

Penyu-West Natuna

Basin


Malay Basin

Sulu Sea Basin

Palawan Shelf

 Basin


Khorat Plateau

Thai


Cenozoic

Basins


Cuu Long Basin

Nam Con Son Basin

         

     Baram Delta/

Brunei-Sabah 

    Basin

South China Sea Platform

Greater 


Sarawak Basin

Kutei Basin

North 

Sumatra Basin



Central 

Sumatra Basin

South 

Sumatra 


Basin

Song 


    Hong Basin

Phu 


Khanh 

Basin


Northwest 

Java Basin

East Java Basin

Barito 


Basin

Tarakan 


Basin

     3605

Palawan 

    Shelf

Hanoi

Manila


Jakarta

Bangkok


Rangoon

Singapore

Vientiane

Phnom Penh

Kuala Lumpur

120°E


110°E

100°E


20°N

10°N


10°S


Sulu

Sea

Gulf of  

Thailand

Java Sea

Andaman

Sea

South

China

Sea

Celebes Sea

Indian Ocean

MALAYSIA


BRUNEI

PHILIPPINES

BORNEO

SULAWESI


MALAYSIA

SUMATRA


JAVA

AUSTRALIA

CHINA

THAILAND


BURMA

VIETNAM


CAMBODIA

LAOS


Indian 

Ocean

Southeast 

Asia

Assessment 



Area

I   N


  D  O

  N   E  S I 

A

0

250



500 Kilometers

0

125



250 Miles

Explanation

Assessed Provinces

C H I N A

Pearl River 

Mouth Basin



U.S. Department of the Interior

U.S. Geological Survey

Fact Sheet 2010–3015

June 2010

World Petroleum Resources Assessment Project

Assessment of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources of 

Southeast Asia, 2010

Printed on recycled paper



Using a geology-based assessment 

methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey 

estimated a mean of 21.6 billion barrels 

of oil and a mean of 299 trillion cubic 

feet of undiscovered natural gas in 

23 provinces of southeast Asia.

Introduction

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 

assessed the potential for undiscovered 

conventional oil and gas fields within 

geologic provinces of southeast Asia 

as part of the USGS World Petroleum 

Resources Assessment Project (fig. 1). 

Twenty-three provinces were assessed in 

this study (table 1), including provinces 

entirely or partially within Thailand, 

Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, 

Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, China, and 

Philippines. Many of the oil and gas 

basins within these geologic provinces 

originated as extensional basins that 

evolved into a post-rift thermal subsid-

ence phase, which is characterized by 

carbonate platform deposits or prograd-

ing clastic wedges typical of passive mar-

gins. This simple sketch does not reflect 

the complexity of the tectonic history in 

southeast Asia, which has included rift-

ing and attenuation of continental crust

opening and closing of ocean basins, 

development of regional fault systems 

and associated structures, collision and 

suturing of terranes, formation of accre-

tionary prisms and local uplifts (Morley, 

2001, 2002; Hutchinson, 2004; Hall and 

others, 2008).

Petroleum systems in provinces 

of southeast Asia reflect the complex 

tectonic evolution, but generalities can 

be made concerning the origin of oil and 

gas in what are mainly Cenozoic basins 

(Todd and others, 1997; Doust and Sum-

ner, 2007; Hall, 2009). Petroleum source 

rocks mainly are synrift deep-basin 

lacustrine and marginal lacustrine shales; post-rift marginal marine to marine coaly 

mudstones, coals, and marine shales (Todd and others, 1997). Oil predominantly is gen-

erated from synrift lacustrine shales, whereas gas is generated from the post-rift coaly 

mudstones, coals, and shales, and by cracking of earlier-formed oil. As gas generation 



Table 1.  Southeast Asia assessment results.

[MMBO, million barrels of oil. BCFG, billion cubic feet of gas. MMBNGL, million barrels of natural gas liquids. Results shown are fully risked estimates. For gas accumula-

tions, all liquids are included as NGL (natural gas liquids). Undiscovered gas resources are the sum of nonassociated and associated gas. F95 represents a 95-percent 

chance of at least the amount tabulated; other fractiles are defined similarly. AU, assessment unit. AU probability is the chance of at least one accumulation of minimum 

size within the AU. TPS, total petroleum system. Gray shading indicates not applicable. Largest expected oil field size in MMBO; gas field size is in BCFG]

Total Petroleum Systems  

(TPS) 

and Assessment Units (AU)

AU

prob-



ability

Field 


type

Largest 


expected 

field size



Total  Undiscovered Resources

Oil (MMBO)

Gas (BCFG)

NGL (MMBNGL)

F95

F50

F5

Mean

F95

F50

F5

Mean

F95

F50

F5

Mean

Pearl River Mouth Basin Province (Paleogene Lacustrine TPS)

Eocene-Miocene  

Reservoirs AU

1.0


Oil 

97

279



567

1,079


608

290


694

1,526


773

10

26



63

30

Gas 

2,371

3,279


8,078 18,047

9,035


102

256


588

289


Song Hong Basin Province (Eocene-Miocene Composite TPS)

Paleogene-Neogene 

Reservoirs  AU

1.0


Oil 

62

80



183

399


204

405


945

2,112


1,061

4

11



25

12

Gas 

922

5,782 10,599 18,625 11,205



121

226


399

238


Phu Khanh Basin Province (Paleogene TPS)

Paleogene-Neogene 

Reservoirs  AU

1.0


Oil 

107


48

166


593

223


244

854


3,152

1,162


3

9

37



13

Gas 

1,955


4,268 10,679 23,532 11,878

89

226



507

253


Khorat Plateau Province (Mesozoic TPS)

Permian Carbonates AU

1.0

Oil 

0



0

0

0



0

0

0



0

0

0



0

0

Gas 

279

502


1,171

2,426


1,278

3

6



14

7

Khorat Group Sandstones 



AU

1.0


Oil 

0



0

0

0



0

0

0



0

0

0



0

0

Gas 

202

187


568

1,478


665

1

3



8

4

Cuu Long Basin Province (Eocene-Oligocene Composite TPS)

Syn-Rift Reservoirs AU

1.0


Oil 

427


726

1,599


3,204

1,735


1,463

3,359


7,339

3,748


40

92

203



103

Gas 

315


112

487


1,750

649


3

14

50



19

Nam Con Son Basin Province (Eocene-Miocene Composite TPS)

Oligocene-Miocene 

Reservoirs AU

1.0


Oil 

146


321

643


1,192

685


1,165

2,376


4,524

2,547


38

79

151



85

Gas 

1,800


6,196 11,488 19,899 12,053

190


353

616


371

South China Sea Platform (Miocene TPS)

Dangerous Grounds-

Reed Bank AU

1.0


Oil 

703


764

2,192


5,380

2,522


3,058

8,889 22,683 10,370

58

168


437

197


Gas 

4,217


4,609 13,151 32,381 15,149

260


756

1,928


881

Thai Basin Province (Eocene-Miocene Composite TPS)

Pattani Trough AU

1.0

Oil 

80

386



615

946


634

2,406


3,939

6,200


4,071

66

109



173

113


Gas 

787


3,739

6,055


9,419

6,253


148

242


379

250


Offshore Western Cenozoic 

Rifts AU


1.0

Oil 

181


152

479


1,347

578


942

3,041


8,812

3,716


26

84

247



103

Gas 

257


136

426


1,360

543


5

17

55



22

Thai Cenozoic Basins Province (Eocene-Miocene Composite TPS)

Onshore Cenozoic Rifts AU

1.0

Oil 

76

162



362

727


391

104


240

503


263

2

5



10

5

Gas 

136

123


321

804


372

2

5



13

6

Palawan Shelf Province (Eocene-Miocene Composite TPS)

Eocene-Miocene 

Reservoirs AU

1.0

Oil 

101


84

226


609

270


54

147


417

179


2

5

13



6

Gas 

514


319

984


3,035

1,229


10

30

94



38

Tarakan Basin (Neogene TPS)

Deltaic AU

1.0

Oil 

38

22



64

198


81

32

96



307

123


1

3

10



4

Gas 

406


573

1,310


2,803

1,447


7

16

36



18

Turbidite AU

1.0

Oil 

235


100

380


1,421

516


311

1,213


4,674

1,673


10

38

151



54

Gas 

2,376


2,076

6,441 17,361

7,668

24

78



223

95

Mangkalihat Carbonates  



AU

1.0


Oil 

71

14



64

370


110

83

380



2,274

675


2

12

71



21

Gas 

590


162

710


3,343

1,089


4

16

76



25

Sulu Sea Province (Miocene  TPS)

Sandakan Reservoirs AU

1.0

Oil 

178


58

231


997

339


84

345


1,536

515


3

11

53



18

Gas 

2,448


2,211

6,907 18,205

8,159

26

84



234

101


Baram Delta/Brunei-Sabah Basin Province (Brunei-Sabah  TPS)

Brunei-Sabah Deltaics AU 

1.0

Oil 

67

350



608

1,012


635

1,208


2,165

3,678


2,269

23

41



70

43

Gas 

444

2,905


5,130

8,618


5,366

90

160



270

168


Brunei-Sabah Turbidites AU

1.0


Oil 

551


1,766

3,448


6,180

3,643


4,866

9,900 18,563 10,581

91

188


358

202


Gas 

1,352


3,384

7,515 15,100

8,159

128


290

594


316

Total Petroleum Systems  

(TPS) 

and Assessment Units (AU)

AU

prob-



ability

Field 


type

Largest 


expected 

field size



Total  Undiscovered Resources

Oil (MMBO)

Gas (BCFG)

NGL (MMBNGL)

F95

F50

F5

Mean

F95

F50

F5

Mean

F95

F50

F5

Mean

Greater Sarawak Basin Province (Sarawak Basin TPS)

Central Luconia AU

1.0

Oil 

0



0

0

0



0

0

0



0

0

0



0

0

Gas 

2,492

11,849 20,048 32,212 20,759



318

542


878

562


Balingian AU

1.0


Oil 

80

361



618

1,013


643

1,435


2,529

4,233


2,641

27

48



81

50

Gas 

687

2,340


4,189

7,169


4,392

132


243

425


256

East Natuna Carbonate AU

1.0

Oil 

0



0

0

0



0

0

0



0

0

0



0

0

Gas 

1,913

4,729


9,646 18,038 10,281

126


260

494


278

Malay Basin Province (Oligocene-Miocene Composite TPS)

Main Malay-Tho Chu AU

1.0

Oil 

71

240



430

732


450

893


1,658

2,945


1,756

11

21



37

22

Gas 

1,158

4,200


7,661 13,049

8,008


87

160


275

167


Khmer Trough AU

1.0


Oil 

82

60



179

493


214

215


681

1,974


835

3

8



25

10

Gas 

535

415


1,259

3,346


1,489

8

26



71

31

Barito Basin (Eocene-Miocene Composite TPS)

Barito Foredeep Structures 

AU

1.0



Oil 

84

20



94

460


146

32

160



816

256


1

3

16



5

Gas 

997


589

2,108


6,444

2,617


9

32

100



40

Central Sumatra Basin Province (Brown Shale-Sihapas TPS)

Pematang/Sihapas 

Siliciclastics AU

1.0


Oil 

14

84



142

233


148

70

133



240

141


6

12

23



13

Gas 

99

85



222

562


259

2

5



12

6

East Java Basin (Eocene-Miocene Composite TPS)

East Java Carbonates AU

1.0


Oil 

190


173

435


1,146

514


1,031

2,639


7,128

3,154


32

82

224



99

Gas 

1,742


3,049

6,319 12,670

6,879

68

142



288

155


East Java Siliciclastics AU

1.0


Oil 

294


633

1,400


2,816

1,522


1,310

2,925


5,984

3,192


67

151


311

165


Gas 

2,358


8,286 17,078 32,285 18,264

613


1,291

2,471


1,381

Kutei Basin TPS

Kutei Basin Deltaics AU

1.0

Oil 

32

91



160

269


168

471


847

1,464


892

5

9



16

10

Gas 

952

1,299


3,056

6,652


3,401

58

143



331

162


Kutei Basin Turbidites AU

1.0


Oil 

615


1,371

2,851


5,393

3,047


9,643 20,104 38,035 21,478

101


216

423


233

Gas 

2,471


11,212 19,416 31,896 20,230

187


328

546


342

North Sumatra Basin (Bampo-Cenozoic TPS)

North Sumatra AU

1.0

Oil 

12

48



77

119


79

288


478

763


495

5

10



17

10

Gas 

183

534


934

1,570


977

36

66



121

71

Mergui Basin AU



1.0

Oil 

169


71

280


1,018

374


423

1,711


6,434

2,338


8

33

137



48

Gas 

1,493


2,796

6,486 13,524

7,096

188


461

1,031


516

Northwest Java Basin (Eocene-Miocene Composite TPS)

Sunda-Asri Basins AU

1.0

Oil 

31

90



161

274


169

152


279

495


296

5

9



16

9

Gas 

100

80

224



581

262


0

1

3



1

Ardjuna Basin AU

1.0

Oil 

46

73



152

310


166

326


692

1,487


772

12

28



64

32

Gas 

378

625


1,350

2,729


1,474

15

33



71

36

Biliton-Vera Basins AU



1.0

Oil 

116


136

348


797

391


606

1,588


3,818

1,819


23

63

163



74

Gas 

90

8



41

408


106

0

1



10

3

Penyu-West Natuna Basin Province (Oligocene-Miocene Composite TPS)

Gabus-Udang-Urang 

Sandstones AU

1.0

Oil 

24

27



66

150


74

109


284

699


329

1

4



10

5

Gas 

153

598


1,048

1,754


1,094

24

43



72

45

South Sumatra Basin (Lahat/Talang Akar-Cenozoic TPS)

South Sumatra AU

1.0


Oil 

82

133



321

681


353

537


1,338

2,967


1,491

11

28



65

32

Gas 

639

1,398


3,112

6,194


3,367

48

110



228

120


Total Conventional

 Resources

8,922 19,541 41,558 21,632 128,908 272,848 557,051 298,761

3,828

8,270 17,216

9,099

Table 1.  Southeast Asia assessment results.—Continued

[MMBO, million barrels of oil. BCFG, billion cubic feet of gas. MMBNGL, million barrels of natural gas liquids. Results shown are fully risked estimates. For gas accumula-

tions, all liquids are included as NGL (natural gas liquids). Undiscovered gas resources are the sum of nonassociated and associated gas. F95 represents a 95-percent 

chance of at least the amount tabulated; other fractiles are defined similarly. AU, assessment unit. AU probability is the chance of at least one accumulation of minimum 

size within the AU. TPS, total petroleum system. Gray shading indicates not applicable. Largest expected oil field size in MMBO; gas field size is in BCFG]


is later than oil, gas is focused into the 

younger, post-rift clastic and carbonate 

reservoirs. Volumetrically, gas would be 

expected to be more prevalent than oil in 

these provinces where post-rift sources 

have achieved the appropriate thermal 

maturity for generation (Doust and 

Sumner, 2007).

The methodology for the assessment 

included a complete geologic framework 

description for each province mainly 

based on published literature and defini-

tion of petroleum systems and assessment 

units within these systems. Exploration 

and discovery history was a critical part 

of the methodology used to estimate 

sizes and numbers of undiscovered 

accumulations. In areas where there are 

no discoveries (for example, Phu Khanh 

Basin) geologic analogs were used as a 

basis for volumes of undiscovered oil 

and gas resources. Each assessment unit 

was assessed for undiscovered oil and 

nonassociated gas accumulations, and 

coproduct ratios were used to calculate 

the volumes of associated gas (gas in oil 

fields) and natural gas liquids.

Resource Summary

The USGS assessed undiscovered 

conventional oil and gas resources in 

assessment units within 23 geologic 

provinces (table 1). For conventional oil 

resources, the mean total is 21,632 mil-

lion barrels of oil (MMBO), with a 

range from 8,922 to 41,558 MMBO; 

for undiscovered conventional gas the 

mean total is 298,761 billion cubic feet 

(BCFG), with a range from 128,908 

BCFG to 557,051 BCFG; and a mean 

total of 9,099 million barrels of natural 

gas liquids (MMBNGL), with a range 

from 3,828 to 17,216 MMBNGL.

Of the mean oil total of 

21,632 MMBO, about 70 percent is 

estimated to be in six provinces—Baram 

Delta/Brunei-Sabah Basin (mean of 

4,278 MMBO), Kutei Basin (mean of 

3,215 MMBO), South China Sea Plat-

form (mean of 2,522 MMBO), East Java 

Basin (mean of 2,036 MMBO), Cuu 

Long Basin (mean of 1,735 MMBO), and 

Thai Basin (mean of 1,212 MMBO). In 

addition, several provinces are estimated 

to have potential oil volumes greater than 

500 MMBO—Northwest Java Basin 

(mean of 726 MMBO), Tarakan Basin 

(mean of 707 MMBO), Nam Con Son 

Basin (mean of 685 MMBO), Malay 

Basin (mean of 664 MMBO), Greater 

Sarawak Basin (mean of 643 MMBO), 

and Pearl River Mouth Basin (mean of 

608 MMBO).

For the mean undiscovered gas total 

of 298,761 BCFG, about 60 percent is 

estimated to be in six provinces—Kutei 

Basin (mean of 46,001 BCFG), Greater 

Sarawak Basin (mean of 38,073 BCFG), 

East Java Basin (mean of 31,489 BCFG), 

Baram Delta/Brunei-Sabah Basin (mean 

of 26,375 BCFG), South China Sea Plat-

form (mean of 25,519 BCFG), and Nam 

Con Son Basin (mean of 14,600 BCFG). 

Several other provinces are estimated 

to have potential gas volumes greater 

than 10,000 BCFG—Thai Basin (mean 

of 14,583 BCFG), Phu Khanh Basin 

(mean of 13,040 BCFG), Tarakan Basin 

(mean of 12,675 BCFG), Song Hong 

Basin (mean of 12,266 BCFG), and 

Malay Basin (mean of 12,088 BCFG). 

Overall, the assessment indicates that 

(1) more than 90 percent of the undis-

covered oil and gas resources are 

offshore, and (2) there is more than 

twice as much undiscovered gas resource 

(298,761 BCFG, or 49,794 MMBOE) 

than undiscovered oil resource 

(21,632 MMBO) in the provinces of 

southeast Asia using a barrels of oil 

equivalent conversion.

References

Doust, H., and Sumner, H.S., 2007, 

Petroleum systems in rift basins—a 

collective approach in southeast Asia 

basins: Petroleum Geoscience, v. 13, 

p. 127–144.

Hall, R., 2009, Hydrocarbon basins in 

SE Asia: understanding why they are 

there: Petroleum Geoscience, v. 15, 

p. 131–146.

Hall, R., van Hattum, M.W.A., and Spak-

man, Wim, 2008, Impact of India—

Asia collision on SE Asia: the record 

in Borneo: Tectonophysics, v. 451, 

p. 366–389.

Hutchinson, C.S., 2004, Marginal basin 

evolution: the southern South China 

Sea: Marine and Petroleum Geology, 

v. 21, p. 1129–1148.

Morley, C.K., 2001, Combined escape 

tectonics and subduction roll-back-

backarc extension: a model for the 

Tertiary rift basins in Thailand, Malay-

sia, and LaosJournal of Geological 

Society of London, v. 158, p. 461–474.

Morley, C.K., 2002, A tectonic model 

for the Tertiary evolution of strike-slip 

faults and rift basins in SE Asia: Tecto-

nophysics, v. 347, p. 89–215.

Todd, S.P., Dunn, M.E., and Barwise, 

A.J.G., 1997, Characterizing petroleum 

charge systems in the Tertiary of SE 

Asia, in Fraser, A.J., Matthews, S.J., 

and Murphy, R.W., eds., Petroleum 

geology of Southeast Asia: Geological 

Society of London Special Publication 

v. 126, p. 25–47.

For Further Information

Supporting studies of the geologic 

models and the methodology used in 

the assessment of Southeast Asia Basins 

are in progress. Assessment results are 

available at the USGS Energy Program 

website, http://energy.cr.usgs.gov/oilgas/.

Southeast Asia Provinces 

Assessment Team: 

Christopher J. Schenk (Task Leader; 

schenk@usgs.gov), Michael E. Brown-

field, Ronald R. Charpentier, Troy A. 

Cook, Timothy R. Klett, Mark A. Kirsch-

baum, Janet K. Pitman, and Richard M. 



Pollastro.


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