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© 2003-2004 Petrobjects www.petrobjects.com

Introduction

The process of estimating oil and gas reserves for a producing field continues throughout the life of the field. There is always uncertainty in making such estimates. The level of uncertainty is affected by the following factors: 1. Reservoir type, 2. Source of reservoir energy, 3. Quantity and quality of the geological, engineering, and geophysical data, 4. Assumptions adopted when making the estimate, 5. Available technology, and 6. Experience and knowledge of the evaluator. The magnitude of uncertainty, however, decreases with time until the economic limit is reached and the ultimate recovery is realized, see Figure 1.

Figure 1: Magnitude of uncertainty in reserves estimates The oil and gas reserves estimation methods can be grouped into the following categories: 1. Analogy, 2. Volumetric, 3. Decline analysis, 4. Material balance calculations for oil reservoirs, 5. Material balance calculations for gas reservoirs, 6. Reservoir simulation.

© 2003-2004 Petrobjects www.petrobjects.com

1

and rely on uniform. The procedure is to select a single value for each parameter to input into an appropriate equation. This method is most useful when running the economics on the current field. When calculating reserves using any of the above methods. can be estimated by using an appropriate recovery factor. The most common decline curve relationship is the constant percentage decline (exponential). the rock pore volume.petrobjects. on the other hand. Assuming good data. Overexuberance in the use of hyperbolic or harmonic relationships can result in excessive reserves estimates. Each of the factors used in the calculation above have inherent uncertainties that. the pressure in the reservoir will decline proportionately to the amount of gas produced. altering the performance of the non-ideal gas law in the reservoir. when combined. A close-to-abandonment analogous field is taken as an approximate to the current field. The ultimate recovery.petrobjects. The probabilistic method. there is currently a swing toward decline rates proportional to production rates (hyperbolic and harmonic). The volumetric method. and the fluid content within the pore volume. It is more suited to oil wells. become the predominant methods of calculating reserves. This method utilizes a distribution curve for each parameter and. which are usually produced against fixed bottom-hole pressures. With more and more low productivity wells coming on stream. a lot of qualifying information can be derived from © 2003-2004 Petrobjects www. entails determining the areal extent of the reservoir. then. hyperbolic or harmonic decline extrapolations should only be used for these specific cases.com In the early stages of development. however. a distribution curve for the answer can be developed.Petroleum Reserves Estimation Methods © 2003-2004 Petrobjects www. caution should be exercised in using them. wellhead back-pressures usually fluctuate. decline analysis and material balance calculations. If a reservoir comprises a closed system and contains single-phase gas. optimistic reserves estimates can result.com 2 . is more rigorous and less commonly used. Decline curve relationships are empirical. sometimes bottom water drive in gas reservoirs contributes to the depletion mechanism. which is supposed to be an exploratory field. reserves estimates are restricted to the analogy and volumetric calculations. Unfortunately. not as reliable. This provides an estimate of the amount of hydrocarbons-in-place. cause significant uncertainties in the reserves estimate. through the use of Monte Carlo Simulation. The deterministic method is by far the most common. during early depletion. As production and pressure data from a field become available. In gas wells. Under these conditions. however. Material balance calculation is an excellent tool for estimating gas reserves. to obtain a single answer. two calculation procedures may be used: deterministic and/or probabilistic. The analogy method is applied by comparing factors for the analogous and current fields or wells. Although some wells exhibit these trends. on the other hand. These methods greatly reduce the uncertainty in reserves estimates. lengthy production periods. causing varying production trends and therefore.

such as the minimum and maximum values. On the other hand. all input parameters are exactly known.com the resulting statistical calculations. They are affected by all input parameters. the median (middle value). In these methods. they may sometimes ignore the variability © 2003-2004 Petrobjects www. Figure 1: Measures of central tendency Figure 3: Percentiles The probabilistic methods have several inherent problems. In such methods.petrobjects. including the most likely and maximum values for the parameters. the mean (average value). the standard deviation and the percentiles. however. Only the end result is known but not the exact value of any input parameter. one can not back calculate the input parameters associated with reserves.com 3 .Petroleum Reserves Estimation Methods © 2003-2004 Petrobjects www.petrobjects. the mode (most likely value). see Figures 2 and 3. deterministic methods calculate reserve values that are more tangible and explainable.

If the two values agree.com 4 . can provide quality assurance for estimating hydrocarbon reserves. i. reserves are calculated both deterministically and probabilistically and the two values are compared. then confidence on the calculated reserves is increased.e.com and uncertainty in the input data compared to the probabilistic methods which allow the incorporation of more variance in the data.Petroleum Reserves Estimation Methods © 2003-2004 Petrobjects www. © 2003-2004 Petrobjects www. the assumptions need to be reexamined.petrobjects. If the two values are away different. however.petrobjects. A comparison of the deterministic and probabilistic methods.

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