Tectonic Evolution in the South of the South China Sea and Its Control Factors of Hydrocarbon Accumulation

Yiping Wu, Lunkun Wan, Zhifeng Ji, Zhixin Wen, Zhi Li, Zhaoming Wang, Zong’an Xue, Zi Yang

Ekoloji, 2018, Issue 106, Pages: 485-494, Article No: e106049


Download Full Text (PDF)


In this paper tectonic evolution of the South of the South China Sea and its Peripheral and its control factors of hydrocarbon accumulation are put forward. The study area has suffered from 5 strong tectonic activities and developed twelve major basins developed. Four geological division presents different features: Western strike-slip shear zone generally underwent three-phase movements, including stretching, squeezing and thermal subsidence; Southern foreland compressive belt experienced three-phase evolutions, including foreland depression, strike-slip and regional subsidence; Southeast back-arc subsidence belt experienced tension, passive sedimentation and extrusion deformation; Southeast fore-arc subduction belt is chartered by a typical groove depression. Twelve basins contain remaining 2P reserves of 37.9 billion barrels of oil equivalent, undiscovered resources of 45.4 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Hydrocarbon mainly enriches in 4 basins. Controlling factors of hydrocarbon accumulation include the following: Extensional structures promoted rapid hydrocarbon generation from organic matter; Tectonic cycles controlled high-quality Neogene reservoirs; Hydrocarbon accumulations are easy to take place in anticlines and faulted anticlines associated to syngenetic faults; Well combination of hydrocarbon generation and expulsion with traps created large oil and gas fields. The result would be of great significance for hydrocarbon exploration.


tectonic division, rift period, control factor, matching of migration and accumulation, South China Sea


  • Cantoa APB, Padrones JT, Concepcion RAB, et al. (2012) Geology of northwestern Mindoro and its offshore islands: Implications for terrene accretion in west Central Philippines. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 61: 78-87.
  • Hodgetts D, Imber J, Childs C, et al. (2001) Sequence stratigraphic responses to shoreline perpendicular growth faulting in shallow marine reservoirs of the Champion field, offshore Brunei Darussalam, South China Sea. AAPG bulletin, 85(3): 433-457.
  • Liu S, Zhang G, Zhao Z, et al. (2016) Control of tectonic cycle in South China Sea over hydrocarbon accumulation in the Zengmu Basin. China Petroleum Exploration, 21(2): 37-44.
  • Morley CK (2012) Late Cretaceous–Early Palaeogene tectonic development of SE Asia. Earth-Science Reviews, 115: 37-75.
  • Pubellier M, Morley CK (2014) The basins of Sundaland (SE Asia): Evolution and boundary conditions. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 58(1): 555-578.
  • Ren J, Pang X, Lei C, et al. (2015) Ocean and continent transition in passive continental margins and analysis of lithospheric extension and breakup process: Implication for research of the deepwater basins in the continental margins of South China Sea. Earth Science Frontiers, 22(1): 102-114.
  • Wu Y, Bao Z, Tian Z (2016) Sedimentary structure and hydrocarbon geology in the middle and South China Sea. Beijing: Petroleum Industy Press.
  • Xie X, Ren J, Wang Z, et al. (2015) Difference of tectonic evolution of continental marginal basins of South China Sea and relationship with SCS spreading. Earth Science Frontiers, 22(1): 077-087.
  • Xu J, Ben-Avraham Z, Kelty T, et al. Origin of marginal basins of the NW Pacific and their plate tectonic reconstructions. Earth-Science Reviews, 130: 154-196.
  • Xue Z, Liu JP, DeMaster D, et al. (2014) Sedimentary processes on the Mekong subaqueous delta: Clay mineral and geochemical analysis. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 79(Part A): 520-528.
  • Yan P, Liu H (2004) Tectonic-stratigraphic division and blind fold structures in Nansha Waters, South China Sea. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 24: 337-348.
  • Yan Q, Shi X, Castillo PR (2014) The late Mesozoic–Cenozoic tectonic evolution of the South China Sea: A petrologic perspective. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 85: 178-201.
  • Yan Q, Shi X, Liu J, et al. (2010) Petrology and geochemistry of Mesozoic granitic rocks from the Nansha micro-block, the South China Sea: Constraints on the basement nature. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 37(1): 130-139.
  • Yang M, Zhang H, Liao Z, et al. (2015) Petroleum systems of the sedimentary basins in Nansha Sea waters (South China Sea). 22(3): 048-058.
  • Yao B, Wan L, Liu Z (2004) Tectonic dynamics of Cenozoic sedimentary basins and Hydrocarbon Resources in the South China Sea. Earth Science Journal of China University of Geosciences, 29(5): 543-549.
  • Yao Y,Wu N, Xia B, et al. (2008) Petroleum geology of the Zeng mu Basin in the southern South China Sea. Geology in China, 35(3): 503-513.
  • Zhang G, Wang P, Wu J, et al. (2015) Tectonic cycle of marginal oceanic basin: A new evolution model of the South China Sea. Earth Science Frontiers, 22(3): 027-037.