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Key to success in exploration is sound prospect evaluation and geological risking. Teams provided by OPS OES Thailand have the ability to thoroughly assess prospects and leads, the potential hydrocarbon-in-place potential and risking of critical geological elements, such as source rock, reservoir, seal, traps, hydrocarbon charge and –retention. These five elements are illustrated in the example of a working petroleum system below. All team members will closely interact to agree on a risking factor (POS) for these individual elements, and the POS of the prospect as a whole.


Example of a simple working Petroleum System (Source; AAPG UGM – SC, 2011).

The Reservoir Engineer (s) of the teams will subsequently develop an initial production forecast (PI), the optimum development well program, and work out economics to support the prospect ranking.




In order to do a complete and sound prospect evaluation, OPS OES provides their clients with highly experienced petroleum professionals. Typically, the technical team or teams consist of at least one geophysicist, one geologist, and one reservoir engineer. Depending on the size and scope of the project, the team could be extended as required.


Structure maps are major tools in prospect generation and evaluation

The process of developing a prospect is a relatively straightforward endeavor. The resulting new oil discoveries are the bloodline of the oil industry and essential for long term economic growth and prosperity. In exploration, the identification of a petroleum play, or simply a play, as a group of oil fields or prospects in the same region that are controlled by the same set of geological factors, is where it starts. Such a play, or a group of interrelated plays, generally occur in a single petroleum system. Mapping regional trends in the geological factors that are relevant to exploring for a particular pay, are depicted as polygons on a map, and is referred to as Play Fairway mapping. Prospect generation and evaluation takes place within a play, once this has been established.

The first step in prospect generation is researching locations (usually focusing on proven petroleum basins) and identifying potential leads. The task of qualifying an oil lead is typically assigned to geologists. Their task is to find the right conditions for an oil trap -- the right source rock, reservoir rock and entrapment. Once a specific lead has been identified, information from existing wells in the surrounding areas is used to further qualify the leads’ potential oil or gas sources and the geological subsurface structures in the general area. Prospect generation can be executed at a regional (basin-wide) scale or a block scale or on an individual structure.


Leads can also be qualified through the use of science. By utilizing geophysical surveying and other mapping methods, a lead can become a prospect by providing scientific evidence of oil at a particular location.


Prior to drilling, risked economics need to be run in order to justify the investment for drilling.


Geo-technical personnel, provided by OPS OES, can fulfill all necessary tasks in a timely and cost-effective fashion and produce a portfolio of sound, economically drillable prospects. The process of prospecting includes:


  • Seismic interpretation and (re-) mapping

  • Evaluation of all existing well data, including biostrat and geochem

  • Palaeogeographical mapping (wells and sequence stratigraphy)

  • Prospect review, volumetrics, risking and ranking

  • Monte Carlo simulation and economics

  • Exploration prospect portfolio management including appraisal scenarios

  • IP, well planning

  • Optimum development

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