The Circum-Arctic Resource Appraisal (CARA) comprises three components:

  1. a geological map of Arctic sedimentary basins published by Grantz and others in 2009,

  2. a geologically based assessment of undiscovered technically recoverable resources published by Gautier and others in 2009, and

  3. an economic appraisal of the cost of delivering the undiscovered oil and gas resources to major markets.

This third component - the economic appraisal of the technically recoverable resources assessed by the CARA - is presented here for the first time in North America.

The economic appraisal consists of a prototype technology that augments the CARA assessment of technically recoverable resources with the addition of an economic benchmark. Our approach to this appraisal is to integrate the results of six separate technical efforts:

  1. the geologically based assessment of undiscovered technically recoverable resources,

  2. an empirically based statistical model of well flow rates,

  3. an experimental design model,

  4. a field development, production, and transportation model,

  5. a statistical cost estimation mode, and

  6. a hypothetical transportation system connecting the Arctic petroleum Provinces to major markets in the northern hemisphere.

The results of these six models are integrated in a Monte Carlo simulation of potential oil and gas accumulations for each CARA assessment unit (AU). Key parameters such as the number of fields, their volumes, well productivities, water depths, drilling depths, and distances from shore are simulated for each field in each AU. Exploration, development, production and transportation costs for each field and AU are estimated and then aggregated. The Monte Carlo simulation generates resource cost-volume curves for each AU and Province, displaying the probability range of volumes of oil or gas available to major markets as a function of unit cost. These Province curves are aggregated to a Circum-Arctic total.

The USGS is seeking collaborative relationships in the research and development of technology for the economic appraisal of undiscovered resources.

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