The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) periodically assesses crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids resources of the world. The assessment procedure requires estimated recover-able oil and natural gas volumes (field size, cumulative production
plus remaining reserves) in discovered fields. Because initial reserves are typically conservative, subsequent estimates increase through time as these fields are developed and produced.
The USGS assessment of petroleum resources makes estimates, or forecasts, of the potential additions to reserves in discovered oil and gas fields resulting from field development, and it also estimates the potential fully developed sizes of undiscovered
fields. The term ?reserve growth? refers to the commonly
observed upward adjustment of reserve estimates. Because such additions are related to increases in the total size of a field, the USGS uses field sizes to model reserve growth.
Future reserve growth in existing fields is a major component
of remaining U.S. oil and natural gas resources and has therefore become a necessary element of U.S. petroleum resource assessments. Past and currently proposed reserve-growth models compared herein aid in the selection of a suitable set of forecast functions to provide an estimate of potential additions
to reserves from reserve growth in the ongoing National Oil and Gas Assessment Project (NOGA). Reserve growth is modeled by construction of a curve that represents annual fractional
changes of recoverable oil and natural gas volumes (for fields and reservoirs), which provides growth factors. Growth factors are used to calculate forecast functions, which are sets of field- or reservoir-size multipliers.
Comparisons of forecast functions were made based on datasets used to construct the models, field type, modeling method, and length of forecast span. Comparisons were also made between forecast functions based on field-level and reservoir-
level growth, and between forecast functions based on older and newer data.
The reserve-growth model used in the 1995 USGS National Assessment and the model currently used in the NOGA project provide forecast functions that yield similar estimates of potential
additions to reserves. Both models are based on the Oil and Gas Integrated Field File from the Energy Information Administration
(EIA), but different vintages of data (from 1977 through 1991 and 1977 through 1996, respectively). The model based on newer data can be used in place of the previous model, providing
similar estimates of potential additions to reserves. Fore-cast functions for oil fields vary little from those for gas fields in these models; therefore, a single function may be used for both oil and gas fields, like that used in the USGS World Petroleum Assessment 2000.
Forecast functions based on the field-level reserve growth model derived from the NRG Associates databases (from 1982 through 1998) differ from those derived from EIA databases (from 1977 through 1996). However, the difference may not be enough to preclude the use of the forecast functions derived from NRG data in place of the forecast functions derived from EIA data. Should the model derived from NRG data be used, separate forecast functions for oil fields and gas fields must be employed. The forecast function for oil fields from the model derived from NRG data varies significantly from that for gas fields, and a single function for both oil and gas fields may not be appropriate.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Graphic comparison of reserve-growth models for conventional oil and accumulation