Strategic Play Analysis


Most organizations can weather the effects of drilling a bad prospect or two – but the impact of choosing the wrong venue in which to focus the company’s manpower and fiscal resources can be disastrous.  Most seasoned explorationists can recall basins or plays in which their company drilled one or more economic discoveries – but for the long haul, the company lost money on their E & P investment in the area.  In essence, those companies were ‘discovering their way out of business’.


There is a simple and straightforward method to assess the potential of a family of prospects - just like a single prospect.  The basic method was developed by Exxon in the 70’s and 80’s and published.  Few companies realized its power at that time.


Brown and Rose modernized the methodology, and presented the results in poster session form at the 2001 AAPG National meeting.  The poster was archived by AAPG and can be reviewed at:


Since that time Dr. Brown has continued to further modernize and modify the technique and has developed an unique, fully stochastic software tool that captures not only the chance profile and range of volumes and value that might be realized by exploring in an area, but the efficiency to not only find, but to find and produce hydrocarbons in the play.


Fully probabilistic play analysis, using this simple, straightforward, and flexible methodology, has now been adopted as part of the exploration business process of many companies, ranging from small operations up to global companies like ExxonMobil, Shell, and PEMEX. The method is especially well suited for establishing the value of exploration acreage to be placed upon the market.


The software used to manage the play evaluation process features push-button extraction of all inputs and calculated outputs.  Examples of the input screens, output screens, and charts that are automatically generated can be seen from the following links:


—Example  of play analysis input screen

—Example  of play analysis output screen

—Example of graphical output


Results from the analyses of many plays can be ranked using the Play Ranking Tool that comes with the software suite (or can be purchased separately)  The tool permits ranking opportunities based upon user-defined elements (such as volume generated, efficiency, or ‘softer’ inputs like geopolitical risk) and weight factors, based upon company strategy and risk tolerance..  An example of output from the tool can be seen by clicking the link, below:


—Example  of play ranking tool graphical output




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