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Several methods have been described in the literature which attempt to estimate the total hydrocarbon resources of large terrains, based on the concept of the petroleum basin. The approach described here employs heuristic procedures which incorporate optimization methods, and are applied to data files drawn from the world's major petroleum basins. Basin variables used include the area, thickness and volume of the sediments, characteristics of facies models, sedimentary cycles, and sedimentary rates; the historical record of depositional and tectonic events; environmental setting; geothermal gradients; potential of viable reservoir units. A diagnostic relationship is developed from a summation of linear nondecreasing functions, each linked with a specific variable.
The goals of this study include a numerical classification of the petroleum basins of the world, the isolation of variables which are both diagnostic and satisfactory, together with evaluations of their individual information content, and the development of a predictive technique for the estimation of the total potential in newly explored territories.
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