Petroleum producers are currently engaged in significant expenditure towards exploration and development in unconventional oil and gas plays in Western Canada. Finding & Development costs are different in various plays and strategies. But where the producer should focus their resources to achieve most cost efficient production?

The paper describes methodology of analysis of Finding & Development cost. A probabilistic model was developed to quantitatively assess exploration and development expenditure, production, and reserves for various producers for different oil and gas plays. The model employs a number of key performance indicators (KPIs) such as Finding & Development costs with and without acquisitions, reserves life, reinvestment, and others.

The methodology was applied to a comprehensive study of Finding & Development expenditure in Western Canada focused mostly on unconventional oil and gas. The study included more than 80 oil and gas companies. Each company may be involved in exploration and development of many plays. The expenditure, production, and reserves were analyzed for the last 12 years. The companies were subdivided into three groups based on their production. Each company’s Finding & Development costs and other KPIs were calculated for Western Canada as a whole and for a particular strategy or play where the company was operating, as well as for CBM, tight, and shale gas.

The study found significant variance in finding and development cost in Western Canada. All companies and all strategies are ranked based on their Finding & Development costs and other KPIs. The results of the study can be applied to the comparative analysis of efficiency of the exploration and development expenditure, which in turn can help improve portfolio management and decision making processes.

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