The success of any exploration campaign depends on the convergence of crucial geologic elements/processes and requires a methodology to predict the likelihood of success given the available data and associated uncertainties. Basin and petroleum system modeling allows geoscientists to examine the dynamics of sedimentary basins and their associated fluids to determine if past conditions were suitable for hydrocarbons to fill potential reservoirs and be preserved there.

More than 50 years ago, geologists began building the foundation for a concept that has since evolved into such a predictive methodology. The concept connects the past—a basin, the sediments and fluids that fill it, and the dynamic processes acting on them—to the present: Petroleum Systems Modeling. This area of study, applies mathematical algorithms to seismic, stratigraphic, paleontologic, petrophysical, well log and other geologic data to reconstruct the evolution of sedimentary basins.

The application of these methodologies has been successful during years; however, with the emergence of unconventional plays, it has become common practice to extrapolate methodologies applied historically in conventional fields for non-conventional areas. This assumption can be extremely risky considering the great differences between these plays and the economic decisions that this analysis of potential may have.


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  1. Bryant, I., Neumaier, M. Wygrala, B.
    , Integrated Petroleum System Modeling to Evaluate Frontier Basins and Resource Plays. Search and Discovery Article #41438. 2014.
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    , An optimal Approach to Shale Gas and Oil Exploration Beyond North America. SPE 167799. 2014.
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