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Visualization of petroleum exploration maturity for six petroleum provinces outside the United States and Canada

April 5, 2023

Outside the United States and Canada, most of the world’s supplies of oil and natural gas are recovered from conventional (or discrete) oil and gas accumulations. This type of hydrocarbon accumulation remains a target for exploration. In this report, exploration and discovery data are used to visually assist in describing the exploration maturity of selected petroleum provinces with respect to conventional oil and natural gas accumulations. The specific provinces are the Campos Basin (Brazil), the Santos Basin (Brazil), the North Sea Graben (northwestern Europe), the Middle Magdelena Basin (Colombia), the Sirte Basin (Libya), and the Kutei Basin (Indonesia). For each province, discovery data and well data through October 2019 are reported; from these data, depth distributions of the oil in oil fields and natural gas in gas fields were computed.

The concepts of delineated prospective area and explored area include elements of geographic spatial information and statistical data analytics. Graphs showing dynamic growth of discoveries that are tied to the delineated prospective area provide a means of grading prospective area. Visualizations put the results of exploration in the context of geographic and geologic features of the play or basin and can be a tool to assist geologists with the appraisal of the number and sizes of undiscovered petroleum accumulations. Visualizations of exploration drilling and discoveries can (1) assist in conceptualizing a geologic model of the basin, (2) highlight relations among discovered accumulations in different plays or assessment units within the basin, and (3) allow the geologist to identify the missing information needed to complete the geologic model of a basin. Further, if visualization attributes can be quantified, they may be used for formulating quantitative models that predict numbers and sizes of undiscovered oil and gas accumulations. Such modeling approaches include discovery process models, Bayesian network models that characterize play or assessment unit dependencies, and innovative applications of machine learning to complement standard geologic assessments.

The purpose of this report is to show how visualizations can further the understanding of exploration maturity for the six selected petroleum provinces. It also shows how the geologic framework, geologic data, and drilling and discovery trends can give context to the interpretation of the visualizations that lead to appraisal of exploration maturity.

Publication Year 2023
Title Visualization of petroleum exploration maturity for six petroleum provinces outside the United States and Canada
DOI 10.3133/sir20235010
Authors Emil D. Attanasi, Philip A. Freeman
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Scientific Investigations Report
Series Number 2023-5010
Index ID sir20235010
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Eastern Energy Resources Science Center