Since the 1950’s, active reservoirs/aquifer have been recognized, and associated with fluid recharge from upland areas, driven by hydraulic head. In recent years, hydrodynamics has also become recognized as being associated with highly-overpressure shales in the deep parts of basins, where reservoirs provide a drainage path to the subsurface. These so-called laterally draining reservoirs appear to be a newly recognized class of reservoirs in many basins around the world, including many deep water areas. Laterally draining reservoirs are characterized by systematic overpressure differences that aid fluid migration, in addition to buoyancy effects. These reservoirs provide more effective vertical barriers to fluid flow, and more effective hydrocarbon seals, as well as the potential for long hydrocarbon columns, due to increased pressure differences across seals. Many examples of laterally draining reservoirs can be demonstrated from SE Asia basins, including the Malay Basin and Gulf of Thailand. Confidence is increased when a robust model for shale prediction can be accompanied by direct pressures measured in the interbedded reservoirs. Identification of laterally draining reservoirs presents new exploration opportunities for hydrodynamic traps.


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