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Abstract: Using Analogues to Quantify Geological Uncertainty in Stochastic Reserve Modelling

Barrie Wells, Iain Brown

The petroleum industry seeks to minimise exploration risk by employing the best possible expertise, methods and tools. Is it possible to quantify the success of this process of risk reduction? Due to inherent uncertainty in predicting geological reality and due to changing environments for hydrocarbon exploration, it is not enough simply to record the proportion of successful wells drilled; in various parts of the world it has been noted that pseudo-random drilling would apparently have been as successful as the actual drilling programme. How, then, should we judge the success of risk reduction?

For many years the E&P industry has routinely used Monte Carlo modelling to generate a probability distribution for prospect reserves. One aspect of Monte Carlo modelling which has received insufficient attention, but which is essential for quantifying risk reduction, is the consistency and repeatability with which predictions can be made. Reducing the subjective element inherent in the specification of geological uncertainty allows better quantification of uncertainty in the prediction of reserves, in both exploration and appraisal.

Building on work reported at the AAPG annual conventions in 1994 and 1995, the present paper incorporates analogue information with uncertainty modelling. Analogues provide a major step forward in the quantification of risk, but their significance is potentially greater still. The two principal contributors to uncertainty in field and prospect analysis are the hydrocarbon life-cycle and the geometry of the trap. These are usually treated separately. Combining them into a single model is a major contribution to the reduction risk.

This work is based in part on a joint project with Oryx Energy UK Ltd., and thanks are due in particular to Richard Benmore and Mike Cooper.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90956©1995 AAPG International Convention and Exposition Meeting, Nice, France