Unproved Probable Reserves

Probable reserves are those unproved reserves which analysis of geological and engineering data suggests are more likely than not to be recoverable. In this context, when probabilistic methods are used, there should be at least a 50% probability that the quantities actually recovered will equal or exceed the sum of estimated proved plus probable reserves.

In general, probable reserves may include (1) reserves anticipated to be proved by normal step-out drilling where sub-surface control is inadequate to classify these reserves as proved, (2) reserves in formations that appear to be productive based on well log characteristics but lack core data or definitive tests and which are not analogous to producing or proved reservoirs in the area, (3) incremental reserves attributable to infill drilling that could have been classified as proved if closer statutory spacing had been approved at the time of the estimate, (4) reserves attributable to improved recovery methods that have been established by repeated commercially successful applications when (a) a project or pilot is planned but not in operation and (b) rock, fluid, and reservoir characteristics appear favourable for commercial application, (5) reserves in an area of the formation that appears to be separated from the proved area by faulting and the geologic interpretation indicates the subject area is structurally higher than the proved area, (6) reserves attributable to a future work over, treatment, re-treatment, change of equipment, or other mechanical procedures, where such procedure has not been proved successful in wells which exhibit similar behaviour in analogous reservoirs, and (7) incremental reserves in proved reservoirs where an alternative interpretation of performance or volumetric data indicates more reserves than can be classified as proved.

Possible reserves are those unproved reserves which analysis of geological and engineering data suggests are less likely to be recoverable than probable reserves. In this context, when probabilistic methods are used, there should be at least a 10% probability that the quantities actually recovered will equal or exceed the sum of estimated proved plus probable plus possible reserves.

In general, possible reserves may include (1) reserves which, based on geological interpretations, could possibly exist beyond areas classified as probable, (2) reserves in formations that appear to be petroleum bearing based on log and core analysis but may not be productive at commercial rates, (3) incremental reserves attributed to infill drilling that are subject to technical uncertainty, (4) reserves attributed to improved recovery methods when (a) a project or pilot is planned but not in operation and (b) rock, fluid, and reservoir characteristics are such that a reasonable doubt exists that the project will be commercial, and (5) reserves in an area of the formation that appears to be separated from the proved area by faulting and geological interpretation indicates the subject area is structurally lower than the proved area.

SPE, Society of Petroleum Engineers, World Petroleum Council 1997

Get the Career You Want.

Find out more about our professional development course.