Unconventional petroleum resource plays present unique assessment challenges. These large, single accumulations cannot be counted and analysed as discrete entities that are delineated by down-dip water contacts. Equally important, the main assessment challenge relates to exploitation risks and uncertainties. This paper presents an integrated stochastic assessment framework for decisions related to shale gas resource plays. The shale gas resource play is modelled as a set of discrete cells that have not been explored (exploited) and that have the potential for economic production. The distinctive aspect of the modelling tool is the use of stochastic simulation to calculate the risks of failure in either the exploration, the appraisal/pilot, or the exploitation phases of the project on the basis of both sub-surface uncertainties and above-surface activity performance, cost and duration uncertainties. The tool also generates stochastic performance metrics that capture alternative outcome scenarios, economic returns and the delivery schedule of production and reserves. The performance metrics support both project-level and portfolio-level decisions related to unconventional resource plays. Project-level application is illustrated using data from a Canadian shale gas resource play.

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