Reserves Inventory Program - Overview

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Department of the Interior is required under the OCS Lands Act to “...conduct a continuing investigation…for the purpose of determining the availability of all oil and natural gas produced or located on the Outer Continental Shelf.” In order to meet this requirement, BOEM is required to develop independent estimates of economically recoverable amounts of oil and gas contained within discovered fields by conducting field reserve studies. The reserve estimates are revised periodically to reflect new information obtained from development and production activities.

Reserve studies are critical inputs to resource assessments, the review and approval of royalty relief applications, as analogs for bid adequacy determinations, and in the review of industry plans and requests. The geologic and engineering information also support other program activities within DOI and cooperative efforts with the Department of Energy and its Energy Information Administration.

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BOEM has adopted the Society of Petroleum Engineers' (SPE) Petroleum Resource Management System. Under this system, reserves are defined as those portions of identified oil or gas resources that can be extracted using current technology. Reserves represent quantities of hydrocarbons, which are anticipated to be commercially recovered from known accumulations from a given date forward.

The Reserves Inventory Program represents a significant part of the Resource Evaluation scope and further contributes to:

  • Energy supply
  • Forecasting
  • Public policy decisions
  • Independent assessment/verification
  • Assuring fair value in public/private transactions

The Reserves Inventory component of the Resource Evaluation Program assigns new producible leases to fields and establishes field limits. The Resource Evaluation Program also develops independent estimates of original amounts of natural gas and oil in discovered fields by conducting field reserve studies and reviews of fields, sands and reservoirs on the OCS. The Resource Evaluation Program periodically revises the estimates of remaining natural gas and oil to reflect new discoveries, development information and annual production.

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