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Carragher, Peter D.1 (1) BP, Houston, TX

ABSTRACT: Exploration Risk and Uncertainty: Why Should We Accept Them?

Over the past 10 to 15 years the science, know-how and language of exploration risk and uncertainty has become well established in many companies. Although a direct cause and effect cannot be completely isolated from advances in technologies such as 3D seismic, there are numerous documented reports of significant performance improvement. This has been described in terms of increased success rates, higher volumes, and better financial results; all flowing from the adoption of a disciplined approach to risk evaluation, and open discussion on the range of, or uncertainty in, the possible outcomes of the subsurface parameters that control reserve volumes.
In spite of these advances there are still significant performance gaps both within and between companies. At a high level it can be argued that some geoscientists and/or managers are more tolerant of, or less aware of risk; and less accurate in their estimates of uncertainty. This presentation explores some of the reasons that this might be so, and offers a decision frame that, if accepted by teams, might make them more aware of the true magnitude of risk they are taking, and more accurate in their estimates of the range of uncertainty. On a program basis the objective is to make the overall risks decrease, and the program uncertainty significantly smaller than at present. Finally, as the search for hydrocarbons enters more difficult geologic environments, the increased, or at least new nature of future risks will need to be offset by specific technology developments.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90026©2004 AAPG Annual Meeting, Dallas, Texas, April 18-21, 2004.