--> ABSTRACT: Commercial Assessment of Petroleum Systems, by Peter J. Stickland; #91019 (1996)

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Commercial Assessment of Petroleum Systems

Peter J. Stickland

One of the more difficult tasks facing an exploration team conducting a large regional prospectivity study is integrating the diverse data so that business decisions can be made. When is one Petroleum System more commercially attractive than another? They may have different geological risks and field sizes, but also different development and fiscal conditions. BHP Petroleum has developed a technique which incorporates all of the above factors into a decision making criteria called the Value Index.

To achieve this each Petroleum System requires subdivision into smaller, more commercially focussed units. These are termed Play Fairways. Play Fairways are temporally and spatially distinct reservoir/seal packages. A number of these Play Fairways may exist within one Petroleum System.

The Expected Value (EV) concept is widely established as a decision making tool for prospects but is inappropriate for evaluating a Play Fairway. The Value Index method applies the spirit of EV to the Play Fairway without the rigorous detail. The key factors in the Value Index calculation are: the probability that there will be at least one further discovery in the fairway, the estimated number of future discoveries, the discovery size distribution and the NPV versus reserves function. These are combined in a monte-carlo package to allow uncertainty in each parameter.

The advantage of the Value Index over other criteria is it allows a comparison of fairways balancing both geological and commercial issues. BHP Petroleum has found this technique, used in conjunction with other criteria, extremely useful for ranking exploration focus areas in Australia.

AAPG Search and Discover Article #91019©1996 AAPG Convention and Exhibition 19-22 May 1996, San Diego, California