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Abstract: Evolution of Mobil's Methods to Evaluate Exploration and Producing Opportunities

Christine B. Gaynor, David M. Cook Jr.

Over the past decade, Mobil has changed significantly in size, structure and focus to improve profitability. Concurrently, work processes and methodologies have been modified to improve resource utilization and opportunity selection. The key imperative has been recognition of the full range of hydrocarbon volume uncertainty, its risk and value. Exploration has focussed on increasing success through improved geotechnical estimates and demonstrating value addition. For Producing, the important tasks:

1. A centralized Exploration and Producing team was formed to help ensure an integrated, consistent worldwide approach to prospect and field assessments. Monte Carlo simulation was instituted to recognize probability-weighted ranges of possible outcomes for prospects and fields, and hydrocarbon volume category definitions were standardized.

2. Exploration instituted a global Prospect Inventory, tracking wildcat predictions vs. results. Performance analyses led to initiatives to improve the quality and consistency of assessments. Process improvement efforts included the use of multidisciplinary teams and peer reviews. Continued overestimates of hydrocarbon volumes prompted methodology changes such as the use of "reality checks" and log-normal distributions. The communication of value predictions and additions became paramount.

3. Producing now recognizes the need for Exploration's commercial discoveries and new Producing ventures, notwithstanding the associated risk. Multi-disciplinary teams of engineers and geoscientists work on post-discovery assessments to optimize field development and maximize the value of opportunities. Mobil now integrates volume and risk assessment with correlative future capital investment programs to make proactive strategic choices to maximize shareholder value.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90951©1996 AAPG International Conference and Exhibition, Caracas, Venezuela