Cretaceous-Cenozoic geology and petroleum systems of the Taranaki Basin, New Zealand (CD)

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King, P.R.; Thrasher, G.P.; Bland, K.J.; Carthew, P.; D'Cruz, D.; Griffin, A.G.; Jones, C.M.; Strogen, D.P. 2010 Cretaceous-Cenozoic geology and petroleum systems of the Taranaki Basin, New Zealand. Lower Hutt: GNS Science. Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences monograph 13 1 CD

Abstract: The Taranaki Basin has an area of about 100 000 sq. km., much of which is offshore. Since the mid-Cretaceous, the sedimentary and tectonic history of the Taranaki Basin has been complex, resulting in a composite morphology consisting of several superimposed sub-basins, depocentres and areas of uplift. The eastern margin of the basin is the Taranaki Fault. The Cretaceous-Cenozoic sedimentary record in the basin is characterised by a transgressive phase from the Late Cretaceous to Early Miocene, followed by a regressive phase that is ongoing. Stratigraphic subdivision is based on lithostratigraphic, chronostratigraphic, and allostratigraphic criteria, derived mainly from seismic reflection mapping and well data. Although there are depositional breaks in virtually all sections within the basin, all stages of the New Zealand time scale from Haumurian to Castlecliffian are represented. Late Cretaceous sediments were deposited within an intra-continental rift transform system characterised by sedimentation in restricted, fault-controlled sub-basins. Following rifting, the Taranaki Basin evolved through the Paleocene and Eocene into a passive margin. Sedimentation patterns were characterised by tectonic quiescence, peneplanation of the adjacent hinterland, and marine transgression. Fault-controlled sub-basins developed on the southeastern margin of the basin in the Late Eocene. Rapid, basin-wide subsidence commenced in the mid-Oligocene. In the Early Miocene, westward overthrusting along the Taranaki Fault coincided with a change in configuration of the convergent plate boundary. Throughout the Neogene the basin has been part of the Australian Plate. The Eastern Mobile Belt was a region a considerable net subsidence in the Neogene, resulting in superimposed Late Cretaceous-Neogene sedimentary successions up to 9 km thick. Deposition of thick Miocene-Pliocene sequences within the eastern foredeep and Northern and Central Grabens was instrumental in triggering or enhancing source rock maturation and hydrocarbon generation. The present-day top of the oil expulsion window ranges from 5.0 to 5.8 km depth. All petroleum fields in the basin are located within the Eastern Mobile Belt. The primary source rocks in the basin are hydrogen-rich coals and terrestrial carbonaceous mudstones of Late Cretaceous to Eocene age. Biomarker characteristics allow differentiation of produced oils into groups according to their source rock age. Much of the hydrocarbon generation and migration into known reservoirs took place relatively late in the basin's history. Most known petroleum reserves are reservoired in Paleogene shoreline and coastal plain sandstones. Younger reservoir rocks include Oligocene foredeep turbidites, earliest Miocene foredeep limestones, Miocene slope and submarine fan sandstones. Miocene volcaniclastics, and Pliocene shelf sandstones. Taranaki Basin is New Zealand's only petroleum-producing basin. Most reserves are contained in a very few large fields. M ore fields have been discovered onshore than offshore, but production and reserves are dominated by the offshore Maui field. The initially in-place, recoverable reserves of the Taranaki Basin are estimated at 332 million barrels of oil/condensate and 5.2 trillion cubic feet of gas. Taranaki Basin is still only moderately explored compared with other hydrocarbon provinces worldwide. The complexity of Taranaki Basin petroleum systems suggests that continuing discoveries can be reasonably expected. (auth/JED)

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