Assessing reservoir performance and modeling risk using real options

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Date

2012-05

Authors

Singh, Harpreet

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Abstract

Reservoir economic performance is based upon future cash flows which can be generated from a reservoir. Future cash flows are a function of hydrocarbon volumetric flow rates which a reservoir can produce, and the market conditions. Both of these functions of future cash flows are associated with uncertainties. There is uncertainty associated in estimates of future hydrocarbon flow rates due to uncertainty in geological model, limited availability and type of data, and the complexities involved in the reservoir modeling process. The second source of uncertainty associated with future cash flows come from changing oil prices, rate of return etc., which are all functions of market dynamics. Robust integration of these two sources of uncertainty, i.e. future hydrocarbon flow rates and market dynamics, in a model to predict cash flows from a reservoir is an essential part of risk assessment, but a difficult task. Current practices to assess a reservoir’s economic performance by using Deterministic Cash Flow (DCF) methods have been unsuccessful in their predictions because of lack in parametric capability to robustly and completely incorporate these both types of uncertainties.

This thesis presents a procedure which accounts for uncertainty in hydrocarbon production forecasts due to incomplete geologic information, and a novel real options methodology to assess the project economics for upstream petroleum industry. The modeling approach entails determining future hydrocarbon production rates due to incomplete geologic information with and without secondary information. The price of hydrocarbons is modeled separately, and the costs to produce them are determined based on market dynamics. A real options methodology is used to assess the effective cash flows from the reservoir, and hence, to determine the project economics. This methodology associates realistic probabilities, which are quantified using the method’s parameters, with benefits and costs. The results from this methodology are compared against the results from DCF methodology to examine if the real options methodology can identify some hidden potential of a reservoir’s performance which DCF might not be able to uncover. This methodology is then applied to various case studies and strategies for planning and decision making.

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