Play-Based Exploration (PBE)

Play-Based Exploration (PBE) has become a ‘boutique’ term in the industry, championed by companies like ExxonMobil, Shell and BP.  PBE methods  vary significantly; some firms create ‘traffic light’ maps of overall relative profitability, others partitioning probability into play/shared and local /prospect-specific probability with assigned percentages.


Play-based exploration reflects a fundamental shift in focus, wherein prospects are not the basic unit of exploration, but plays are.  Individual prospect probabilities are balanced and calibrated within the context of the play maps, and prospect volumes are validated against the field size distribution for the play.  


Key aspects of PBE include:

· Creating and maintaining play specific datasets (key well analysis, volumes, success rates)

· Creating and maintaining segmented play maps

· Reconciling prospect probabilities in the context of the play (segment) in which they reside – spatial balancing

· Reconciling predicted prospect volumes in the context of discovery history and exploration maturity

· Making decisions at the PLAY level rather than at the next PROSPECT level.


Dr. Brown has more than 20 years experience specifically in aspects of PBE.  He strongly advocates taking more of a quantitative approach (rather than subjective ‘traffic light’ approach) to the analysis for a number of compelling reasons.   For more information on this topic, drop him an email.  


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