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Basin modeling software includes tools to statistically vary model input parameters, such as fetch area, depth, source thickness, total organic carbon, hydrogen index, temperature gradient, or heat flow, and consider the impact on fluid phase and volumes. We can rank these parameters, but we should be aware of pitfalls. The underlying geologic assumptions may account for the greatest uncertainty in new basin areas, where data are sparse and models remain poorly calibrated. Modeling tools must be flexible enough to allow multiple working hypotheses within the project time frame.

These multiple hypotheses are best evaluated by an integrated project team that includes the basin modeler. The team members’ shared knowledge of regional basin history, tectonics, stratigraphy, and source rock depositional models can provide an advantage in weighing alternative geologic scenarios and hydrocarbon charge risk.

This chapter provides seven examples of modeling pitfalls based on new ventures exploration studies performed using a combination of flow path and two-dimensional models. Although not representative of all possible pitfalls, these examples illustrate the substantial impact of some pitfalls on model outcome.

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