The management of exploration, appraisal and production is a problem of leveraging the expertise of a company to maximise the potential of the asset. The word company is very appropriate here as it describes well the gathering of disparate disciplines focussed on a specific purpose. The management of the asset is a process that requires the gathering and integration of evidence of many different types from different experts with all kinds of uncertainties.

This paper describes a methodology and tool for handling that process in multidisciplinary teams. It is a generic technology that can be applied across the business. It is being applied to estimating the dependability of reserves estimates, estimating the likelihood of success of a prospect, enterprise resource management, technology selection and condition monitoring. Case studies are presented.

The method has three elements:

  • a process model of the management process highlighting dependencies,

  • a record of the attributes of the process, and,

  • a rich uncertainty calculus for the integration of uncertainties.

The uncertainties are expressed using interval probability which allows the evidence for success to be separated from the evidence against success. The whole approach is implemented in a highly visual graphical environment that allows new users to build new models very quickly.

Case studies have shown that the added value comes not just from the numerical assessment of the overall dependability of the project, but from improved communications both inside and outside the team. A shared understanding of the situation is developed and misunderstandings resolved. The model gives a one page pictorial overview of where the project stands, showing where the vulnerabilities and sensitivities are. In terms of corporate memory it provides an easy to assimilate record of how the conclusions were reached and a shared memory for the team.


The Oil and Gas industry has reorganised in recent years to address the challenge of efficient hydrocarbon extraction through asset teams rather than through a discipline based organisational structure. Such an approach has distinct advantages in terms of communication between disciplines and the gaining of a better understanding of the asset. The downside is the isolation of discipline specialists. This is being managed through various knowledge management initiatives and attempts at matrix organisation [1].

Although an increased understanding of the asset and where it fits into the global geological / geophysical picture may have been obtained, the idea of managing the asset has still potential for development. Asset Management implies having policies, strategies and tactics for appropriate interventions at appropriate times to help the asset meet the objectives that have been set for it.

The overall objective is likely to be one of maximising the economic performance of the asset. But as with all such high level objectives, this can be broken down into lower level objectives, for instance we could say that - "in order to meet the objective of maximising economic performance we need to":-

  • obtain a realistic appraisal of hydrocarbons in place

  • obtain a realistic appraisal of recovery factor

  • create a well balanced development plan

  • assess the local infrastructure

  • consider the local market

  • consider the global market

  • consider options valuation

  • consider at resources flow

  • consider portfolio fit

  • develop best partnering strategy.

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