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Methods of Estimating the Volume of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources–Introductory Remarks

Michel T. Halbouty
Michel T. Halbouty
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January 01, 1975


Because of the current and impending energy shortages, there is a healthy interest in estimates of reserves and resources of oil and gas. However, the controversy about the accuracy of recent estimates of domestic undiscovered petroleum resources unquestionably is retarding the development of a sound national energy policy.

One camp in this controversy maintains, on the basis of past domestic industry performance or presently identifiable “plays” and prospects, that we already have discovered well over half of the producible oil and gas in the United States, and that a little more than half of that already has been produced. The implication of this view is that the remaining life of the domestic exploration industry, particularly onshore, is short— perhaps 10 years. A further implication is that increased prices for petroleum will not result in sizable new discoveries and, therefore, money would be better used for development of alternate energy resources.

The other camp maintains, on the basis of geologic analogy and the existence of large unexplored areas, that the domestic situation is not so dismal; that considerable oil and gas remain to be found by using new tools, human ingenuity, and the stimulation of increased prices; and that a productive domestic exploration industry will continue for at least another 20-30 years.

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AAPG Studies in Geology

Methods of Estimating the Volume of Undiscovered Oil and Gas Resources

John D. Haun
John D. Haun
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
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Publication date:
January 01, 1975




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