Cape Vogel Basin (PPL 358)

In the offshore frontier is Cape Vogel Basin. Oil and gas seeps have been reported and PPL 358 is west of an Ocean Drilling Project research well that encountered thermogenic gas. The principal subsurface risk is whether effective source rocks are present. Geoscience studies by South Pacific Resources Ltd identified rock sequences in PPL 358 that may contain thermally mature source rocks. This lends credibility to the nearby reported petroleum indications.

PPL 358 is located in the Cape Vogel Basin. Much of the 6,070km2 license is over the deepwater frontier Tufi sub-basin where no exploration wells have been drilled. A number of natural oil and gas seepages have been reported in the basin and these remain to be substantiated (Figure 1).

During 2012 South Pacific Resources Ltd located and purchased most of the available pertinent open-file well and seismic data in the region (Figure 2).

Figure 1   Location of Cape Vogel Basin PPL 358 and reported oil & gas seepages

Figure 2   South Pacific Resources Ltd PPL 358 Regional Database (at Quarter ending 30th Sept 2012)

South Pacific Resources Ltd  has commenced a regional CRS evaluation to determine whether a viable petroleum system is present in the Cape Vogel Basin. To date the following have been achieved.

  • A sequence stratigraphic architecture for the basin.
  • Four major regionally mappable sequence boundaries identified.
  • Principal play elements (source, reservoir and seal facies) and their sequence stratigraphic context quantified.
  • Presence of Pre-Miocene source rocks inferred that may have reached thermal maturity for petroleum generation in the Tufi Sub-basin of PPL 358.
  • 10 possible trap types identified in the basin.

Given the paucity of seismic data and absence of wells within PPL 358 additional data are required before potentially drillable prospects can be identified.

Accordingly the continued focus will be to quantify those parts of PPL 358 that are likely to be the most prospective, establish whether a viable petroleum system might be present and what additional data will be need to be acquired by South Pacific Resources Ltd to further quantify exploration risk.