Tight Oil Resource Assessment


The Tight Oil Resource Assessment (TORA) program is recognized as the premier entity researching U.S. unconventional resource plays and their production capabilities, developing a basin-wide and granular-scale understanding of key factors controlling current and future developments.


Our mission is to provide our stakeholders with reliable and up-to-date estimates, projections, models, fundamental understanding and insights at the basin scale for the major U.S. unconventional plays by conducting innovative, integrated research of in-place resource and recoverable volumes, play / well economics, and production forecasts with their environmental implications.

Our History

TORA began in 2016 as an outgrowth of Sloan and DOE-funded studies of key shale gas basins and plays (Marcellus, Fayetteville, Haynesville and Barnett) and tight oil plays (Bakken and Eagle Ford).  The link below takes you to the summary report on the shale gas plays.  While TORA’s focus has been on the Permian Basin, these other basin studies are updated on a rotating basis.  Scott Tinker, Bureau of Economic Geology's Director, played a key role in TORA’s genesis and Mark Walsh, Bill Fairhurst and Svetlana Ikonnikova have all served as PI’s, or co-PI’s, since its founding.  Key innovations include basin-scale Geologic Modeling, an evolving integrated work flow, a 3-D analysis of well landing zones for horizontal wells, and a data analytics / machine learning methodology to estimate Technically Recoverable Resources on a square mile-scale as a product of per well productivity and estimated number of future wells.  As such the project produces outlooks at both the basin scale and at a very granular level.

Final Report prepared for the U.S. DOE: Update and Enhancements of Shale Gas Outlooks.

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