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A three-dimensional discovery-process model has been developed to predict the size distribution of future discoveries in partially explored regions. Such a forecast was made for the Midland basin in west Texas by using pre-1975 historical drilling and discovery data from this basin. The parameters of the model are the effective basin size and the efficiency of discovery. The effective basin size is defined as that part of the basin where exploration companies will actually drill exploratory wells. The efficiency of discovery parameter is a measure of the rate at which deposits will be discovered in this region. In the Midland basin both of these parameters were estimated directly from historical data. Approaching the forecasting problem in this manner removes the necessity for using a alogies or subjective judgment to estimate these parameters. As the historical data base is quite large, a series of integrated computer algorithms have been developed to estimate parameters and predict future oil.
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