H.I. Petersen1,* H.P. Nytoft1, B. Ratanasthien2 and A. Foopatthanakamol2

1Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS), Øster Voldgade 10, DK-1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark.

2Department of Geological Sciences, Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai University, Huay Kaew Road, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand.

*corresponding author, email: hip@geus.dk

Oil is produced from the Suphan Buri, Phitsanulok and Fang Basins onshore central and northern Thailand. Most of the Cenozoic rift-basins onshore Thailand are 2–4 km deep, but the Phitsanulok Basin is the deepest with a basin-fill up to 8 km thick. In this basin, the Sirikit field produces ~18,000–24,000 bbl/day of crude oil. In the Suphan Buri Basin, about 400 bbl/day of crude oil is produced from the U Thong and Sang Kajai fields. Approximately 800 bbl/day of crude oil is produced from the Fang field (Fang Basin), which in reality consists of a number of minor structures including Ban Thi, Pong Nok, San Sai, Nong Yao and Mae Soon. A total of eight oil samples were collected from these structures and from the Sirikit, U Thong and Sang Kajai fields. The oils were subjected to MPLC and HPLC separation and were analysed by gas chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS and GC-MS-MS). The U Thong oil was investigated in more detail by separating the oil into a number of fractions suited for the analysis of various specific compounds.

The Sirikit oil appears to be the most mature, whereas the Suphan Buri oils and the oil from the San Sai structure (Fang Basin) are the least mature. Apart from the San Sai oil, the other oils in the Fang Basin are of similar maturity. The oils contain small amounts of asphaltenes and the asphaltene-free fractions are completely dominated by saturated hydrocarbons (generally >60%). Long-chain n-alkanes extend to at least C40 and the oils are thus highly waxy. In general the oils were generated from freshwater lacustrine source rocks containing a large proportion of algal material, as indicated by the presence of long-chain n-alkanes, low C3122R/C30 hopane ratios, the presence of 28-Nor-spergulane, T26/T25 (tricyclic triterpanes) ratios of 1.07–1.57 and tetracyclic polyprenoid (TTP) ratios close to 1. Occasional saline conditions may have occurred during deposition of the Sirikit, Ban Thi and Pong Nok source rocks.

The Fang Basin oils were sourced from two different kitchens, one feeding the Ban Thi and Pong Nok structures and one feeding the Mae Soon, Nong Yao and San Sai structures. The presence of cadalene, tetracyclic C24 compounds, oleanane, lupane, bicadinane and trace amounts of norpimarane or norisopimarane indicate a contribution from higher land plant organic matter to the oils. The terrestrial organic matter may occur disseminated in the lacustrine facies or concentrated in coal seams associated with the lacustrine mudstones. Thermally immature oil shales (lacustrine mudstones) and coals exposed in numerous basins in central and northern Thailand could upon maturation generate oils with a composition comparable to the investigated oils.

Keywords: oil, gas chromatography, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, biomarkers, maturity, Cenozoic, rift-basin, Thailand

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