One would expect that different economic programs should compute the same answers given the same problem statement. This hypothesis was tested by providing a very simple problem to a number of industry personnel using various software programs. The results show a significant and surprising difference in calculated values between the various programs. In 2000, a large project conducted by the Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers found that the differences arise from a combination of unstated assumptions; differences in interpretation of various parameters; different, but equally valid, treatment of factors such as discounting or escalation; and apparent misunderstanding of the problem statements. The results of the study indicate that there is a great need for standardization and communication regarding upstream economic calculation.

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