A discovery-process model devised by Drew, Schuenemeyer, and Root can be used to predict the amount of petroleum to be discovered in a basin from some future level of exploratory effort: the predictions are based on historical drilling and discovery data. Because marginal costs of discovery and production are a function of field size, the model can be used to make estimates of future discoveries within deposit size classes. The modeling approach is a geometric one in which the area searched is a function of the size and shape of the targets being sought. A high correlation is assumed between the surface-projection area of the fields and the volume of petroleum. To predict how much oil remains to be found, the area searched must be computed, and the basin size and discovery efficiency must be estimated. The basin is assumed to be explored randomly rather than by pattern drilling. The model may be used to compute independent estimates of future oil at different depth intervals for a play involving multiple producing horizons. We have written FORTRAN computer programs that are used with Drew, Schuenemeyer, and Root's model to merge the discovery and drilling information and perform the necessary computations to estimate undiscovered petroleum. These program may be modified easily for the estimation of remaining quantities of commodities other than petroleum. ?? 1980.
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Computational methods for a three-dimensional model of the petroleum-discovery process