The Bureau of Economic Geology The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences

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Bureau Seminar, February 19, 2010

Seeing & Believing
Handling Exploration Uncertainty & Risk in a Supermajor


Link to streaming video: available 02.19.2010 at 8:25am

John O’Leary
Senior Geologist, BP Exploration, Houston

Exploration in the oil and gas industry is fundamentally based on geological models of the subsurface. Geological models are themselves composed of observation and interpretation. Observations should be kept separate from and made before interpretation to ensure that a priori assumptions do not prejudice or condition the observations being made. Comprehensive geological models are based on observations and interpretation of data from a wide spectrum of geological disciplines, from plate-scale tectonics to micropaleontology. Integration of these various but interdependent data sets and their interpretation is necessary to fully understand the uncertainty in the final subsurface description. Understanding the uncertainties in any subsurface description is crucial to assigning the appropriate probabilities (risk) to a geological model. Completing the exploration process cycle, consistent risk assignment involves an iterative comparison of observation and interpretation. This brief talk discusses the process used by BP to generate the best geological models possible so that we understand the subsurface uncertainty and risk associated with any exploration opportunity.


Department of Geological Sciences
Institute for Geophysics
The University of Texas
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