Transcript for Wrestling with Uncertainty, segment 11 of 16

{{{The Assessment}}}

Doing an oil and gas assessment is no different from making predictions in any other realm of science. We gather all the available information, and we develop a set of hypotheses, and from those hypotheses we make specific predictions about the sizes and numbers of undiscovered oil accumulations within a play. In the case of conventional resources, once the play has been defined geologically and a play boundary has been established, you can then, you can analyze the relevant data that are available. One sort of information we rely very heavily on is map information. We look within the play boundary at areas that have been explored intensively and areas that have not been explored intensively. We anticipate that if the play is defined properly, the results of drilling and exploration within the intensely-explored area may provide information for predicting what might happen in the areas that haven't as yet been explored. We look at the sizes of fields that are being found through time. Generally we find that the larger fields are easier to find so they're found first early in the drilling history. Smaller fields are more commonly found later in the drilling history. Trends in field sizes provide information we can use to predict the future. We look at the results of drilling. We might analyze the results of new field wildcats drilled versus the amounts of oil or gas discovered. If we see that the amount of drilling required to find oil and gas is increasing through time, that's a type of trend that we can use to make predictions. All of this information is used to develop the hypotheses that we use to try to understand the future of oil and gas within the play.

Once the province geologist has defined these plays and gathered and analyzed the relevant information, we develop a set of hypotheses about the future of these plays. We then ask that province geologist to make a number of very specific predictions. We ask them about average size of undiscovered accumulations, about the maximum size, about the numbers, the depths, the composition. The two most important things we ask for are for the sizes and the numbers. It's possible to do an assessment like this and just ask for a volumetric number for the whole province, for example, but we find that that isn't the most useful bit of information because by giving some specific predictions about the properties of these undiscovered resources and tying geology to oil and gas data, that allows us a wide variety of applications. For example, we can say things about which undiscovered resources might be developed first, how many wells, at what depth, at what cost. We can talk about availability. We can make predictions about potential environmental impacts or land use planning. We just find it makes a much more versatile, much more versatile product.

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