During the last 30 years, the methodology for assessment of undiscovered conventional oil and gas resources used by the Geological Survey has undergone considerable change. This evolution has been based on five major principles. First, the U.S. Geological Survey has responsibility for a wide range of U.S. and world assessments and requires a robust methodology suitable for immaturely explored as well as maturely explored areas. Second, the assessments should be based on as comprehensive a set of geological and exploration history data as possible. Third, the perils of methods that solely use statistical methods without geological analysis are recognized. Fourth, the methodology and course of the assessment should be documented as transparently as possible, within the limits imposed by the inevitable use of subjective judgement. Fifth, the multiple uses of the assessments require a continuing effort to provide the documentation in such ways as to increase utility to the many types of users. Undiscovered conventional oil and gas resources are those recoverable volumes in undiscovered, discrete, conventional structural or stratigraphic traps. The USGS 2000 methodology for these resources is based on a framework of assessing numbers and sizes of undiscovered oil and gas accumulations and the associated risks. The input is standardized on a form termed the Seventh Approximation Data Form for Conventional Assessment Units. Volumes of resource are then calculated using a Monte Carlo program named Emc2, but an alternative analytic (non-Monte Carlo) program named ASSESS also can be used. The resource assessment methodology continues to change. Accumulation-size distributions are being examined to determine how sensitive the results are to size-distribution assumptions. The resource assessment output is changing to provide better applicability for economic analysis. The separate methodology for assessing continuous (unconventional) resources also has been evolving. Further studies of the relationship between geologic models of conventional and continuous resources will likely impact the respective resource assessment methodologies. ?? 2005 International Association for Mathematical Geology.
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Guiding principles of USGS methodology for assessment of undiscovered conventional oil and gas resources