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AAPG Bulletin


AAPG Bulletin, V. 87, No. 4 (April 2003), P. 535-540.

Copyright 2003. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.


Resource assessment methodologies: Current status and future direction

Robert A. Meneley,1 Alfred E. Calverley,2 Kenneth G. Logan,3 Richard M. Procter4

1Meneley Enterprises Ltd., 136 Mapleburn Drive SE, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2J 1Y6; email: [email protected]
239 Brantford Cres. N.W., Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2L 1N9; email: [email protected]
3TransCanada Pipelines Ltd., Calgary, Alberta, Canada; email: [email protected]
4R. M. Procter Enterprises Ltd., 3307 Copithorne Road NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, T2L 0L2; email: [email protected]


Bob Meneley graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 1958 (B.E., M.Sc.). His work in Canadian and international operations has included extensive involvement in the assessment of undiscovered oil and gas resources. He joined the Canadian Gas Potential Committee in 1993.

Fred Calverley has worked as a petroleum geologist in the Canadian oil industry for over 45 years. He has been involved in exploration in all the major petroleum basins of Canada. Fred was a founding member of the Canadian Gas Potential Committee in 1991. He has a B.Sc. degree from the University of Manitoba.

Ken Logan graduated from the Universities of Calgary (B.Sc. first class honors, 1969) and Cornell University (Ph.D., 1974). He has worked in oil and gas exploration and software development and is currently a gas supply specialist for TransCanada Pipelines. He is a member of the Canadian Gas Potential Committee.

Richard Procter graduated from the Universities of Manitoba (M.Sc., 1957) and Kansas (Ph.D., 1960). He was employed by the Geological Survey of Canada (1960–1991), where he was responsible for development of petroleum resource assessment activities and authored many reports on Canada's resources. Since 1991, he has consulted with and is a member of the Canadian Gas Potential Committee.


We thank the following participants in the Symposium on Resource Assessment Methodologies for their discussions and presentations that form the basis of this review paper: Tom Ahlbrandt, Ron Charpentier, Mitch Henry, Tim Klett, U.S. Geological Survey; Jack Schuenemeyer, Southwest Statistical Consulting; John Buffington, Barry Dickerson, Ken Piper, Pulak Ray, Minerals Management Services; Greg Davidson, Richard Dingwall, Art Kidston, Simon Mauger, Ben McKenzie, Scott Oldale, Ed Petrie, Rob Woronuk, Canadian Gas Potential Committee; Brian Bowers, Paul Mortensen, Canadian Energy Research Institute; Dave Hughes, Kirk Osadetz, Zhuoheng Chen, Geological Survey of Canada; Wayne Elsner, Harvey Halladay, Alberta Energy and Utilities Board; Greg Hayden, Bob Otis, ChevronTexaco; Richard Sinding-Larsen, Jingzhen Xu, Norwegian University of Science and Technology; Pierre Alvarez, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers; John Curtis, Potential Gas Committee; Jim Davidson, National Energy Board; John Davis, University of Kansas; Ken Drummond, Drummond Consulting; Allin Folinsbee, Petro-Canada; Gordon Kaufman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Hal Kvisle, TransCanada Pipelines; Brent Smith, Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board; Carmine Vertone, British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines.

Canadian Energy Research Institute, Conoco Canada, Devon Energy, and the Geological Survey of Canada provided financial and logistic support.


A symposium on resource assessment methodologies, organized by the Canadian Gas Potential Committee in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, last April 10–12, 2002 highlighted the need for ongoing research in resource assessment. Methodologies used by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Canadian Gas Potential Committee can produce significantly different results; for example, estimates for Canadian plays by the U.S. Geological Survey were only 20% of the volume estimated by the Canadian Gas Potential Committee. Key issues in assessment of exploration plays established by discoveries include determination of the underlying distribution of hydrocarbon pool or field sizes and use of economic cutoffs. For conceptual plays where no discoveries have been made, the most critical issue involves the correct appraisal of exploration risk to be applied.

Future directions for assessment in established plays include the application of iterative history matching in discovery process models and Bayesian analyses. For conceptual plays, postmortem studies of both successful and unsuccessful exploration ventures are required to calibrate exploration-risk parameters. Non-conventional resources, specifically coalbed methane and gas hydrates, present special assessment issues of determining how much of the in-place resources will be actually be recoverable (Hughes and Osadetz, Geological Survey of Canada). Assessment of such plays primarily involves engineering evaluation of the volumes of hydrocarbons that can be economically recovered.

A future meeting on assessment methodology is planned for 2004. The establishment of test sites where good-quality play data may be evaluated using a variety of assessment methodologies is planned.

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