Structure, Faulting and Gas Accumulation: Southeast Wanganui Basin, New Zealand
There has been low interest in petroleum exploration in the Wanganui Basin as it lacks known hydrocarbon source rock of sufficient age or burial depth. However, the onshore Southeast Wanganui Basin has many occurrences of methane-rich biogenic gas found in shallow water wells. This project used three studies across the Horowhenua area to examine the faulting style in the Southeast Wanganui Basin where it is bounded by the Tararua range- front, and how this faulting relates to the accumulation of gas deposits in the shallow sedimentary section. South of Levin the Tararua range front steps laterally near Muhunoa East Road. A previous seismic reflection line identified a deep intra-basement arrival, which could have been either a low-angle thrust fault or side-swipe from a pull-apart basin at the step in the Tararua range front. Two seismic lines and a gravity survey found no sub-vertical drops in basement depth which would indicate the presence of a pull-apart basin or a favourable surface off which a laterally travelling seismic wave could reflect. The intra-basement arrival on the previous seismic line was therefore interpreted to be from an intra-basement low-angle thrust fault. Also two biogenic gas sites also were surveyed. A shallow gas reservoir east of Levin on Wallace Road, abutting the Tararua range front, had been discovered when a water well was drilled; and a potential reservoir southwest of Sanson was located when an aerial survey identified a domed structure with high resistivity. In both areas biogenic gas was thought to be trapped in buried sand dunes at a depth of approximately 20 m. Shallow seismic refraction and reflection methods and amplitude variation with offset analysis were used to map both reservoir bodies and confirm the presence of biogenic gas.