Resource Assessment Program

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2016 Resource Assessment

Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) RegionAtlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) RegionAlaska Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) RegionPacific Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Region

2016a Resource Assessment Fact Sheet

2016a National Assessment Fact Sheet Assessment of Undiscovered Technically Recoverable Oil and Gas Resources of the Nation's Outer Continental Shelf, 2016a



The objective of this component is to identify geologic plays on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) that offer the highest potential for the occurrence of oil and natural gas development. Resource assessment work begins with the study of an area's geology in order to determine the potential for the presence of oil and gas deposits.

Resource Evaluation Division Geoscientists will begin the resource assessment process by looking at:

  • Geologic history
  • Regional stratigraphy
  • Major Geologic trends
  • Major structural features
  • Source rocks
  • Reservoir rocks
  • Seals and trapping mechanism
  • Petroleum exploration history

The scale of assessment activities ranges from large (e.g. the History of the BOEM National Assessment and Regional Results to sale-specific (i.e. individual prospects). In the early stages of an assessment the focus is on the regional level but gradually shifts to the prospect level as more data and information are acquired. Once a sale area has been identified, the Resource Evaluation Division will focus on detailed mapping and analyses that is needed to more accurately estimate the resource potential of an individual prospect.

Following the identification of an individual prospect a thorough analysis of its hydrocarbon potential and economic viability is performed. Utilizing complex computer models and assessment methodologies this process incorporates a number of multi-discipline data sources including:

Photo of horizontal layering of sedimentary rocks
  • Geologic information
  • Petroleum engineering data
  • Mathematical and statistical analyses
  • Risk and probability theory
  • Economic scenarios
  • Technical assumptions

Upon completion, prospect-specific data, maps, and analyses are used by the Resource Evaluation Division to determine parameters for pre-sale and post-sale bid analyses Fair Market Value Determination.

Resource estimates are also developed to support critical analyses of potential impacts of policy options, legislative proposals, and industry activities affecting current and future OCS natural gas and oil activities.

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