Oil and gas that have been discovered, but not yet produced, cannot be readily measured. Trapped in the pore spaces of rock, thousands of feet below the surface, the amount of oil or gas in a reservoir cannot be measured with precision. But it is very important to have a good estimate of the amount of oil or gas that may lie in the reservoir. A company cannot evaluate whether a discovered field will be economic to develop without estimating the amount of production that it may obtain over time to balance against the investment required. Oil and gas reserves are a substantial asset on a company's balance sheet. Without a common approach to classification and estimation of oil and gas, it would be impossible to know whether those assets were comparable from one company to another.
UNFC-2009 is a generic principle-based system in which quantities are classified on the basis of the three fundamental criteria of economic and social viability (E), field project status and feasibility (F), and geological knowledge (G), using a numerical and language independent coding scheme. Combinations of these criteria create a three-dimensional system. UNFC-2009, which can either be applied directly or used as a harmonizing tool, is the successor to the UNFC of 2004. The revision process has resulted in a simplified and user-friendly version of the Classification with generic high-level definitions. These are designed to ensure alignment with other widely used systems in the extractive industries – such as the Committee for Mineral Reserves International Reporting Standards (CRIRSCO) Template and the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE)/World Petroleum Council (WPC)/American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)/Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers (SPEE) Petroleum Resource Management System (PRMS) – and to facilitate mapping with other classification systems. The definitions of the UNFC-2009 categories and subcategories have been simplified and the most commonly-used classes are defined using plain language, providing harmonized generic terminology at a level suitable for global communications. The use of commonly-used words that are widely misunderstood by non-experts and which do not have a unique meaning is avoided; most importantly, the word “reserves” is not used other than in a general sense - “reserves” is a concept with different meanings and usage, even within the extractive industries, where the term is carefully defined and applied by technical experts.
The guidelines are available in multiple languages to download as pdf files below:
The WPC/SPE/AAPG/SPEE/SEG Joint Committee on Reserves Evaluator Training web site is up and running! The JCORET provides a site for high quality, industry recognized, training for individuals responsible for petroleum reserves and resources evaluation.
JCORET seeks to assure that high-quality, industry-recognized training is available for individuals responsible for petroleum reserves and resources evaluation. JCORET formed in mid-2006 through an agreement between the four sponsors of the Petroleum Resources Management System (PRMS). The societies created JCORET to meet a generally recognized need for quality training for individuals responsible for petroleum reserves and resources evaluation. A secondary objective is to work toward making such training available to evaluators worldwide at a reasonable cost. JCORET reviews and approves courses from various authors on reserves and resources definitions, recommended geological and engineering evaluation practices, and ethics. An "Authors Kit" is available at www.JCORET.org that provides information on how to prepare and submit a course for JCORET consideration. For students, the website contains information on approved courses.
In the Agenda of the forthcoming Ad Hoc Group Meeting of the UNECE secretariat, they are going to include an item to consider case studies, both on individual deposits and country's case studies showing how a national classification may be adapted to the UNFC principles; and what kind of dificulties are being faced in this attempt. For this purpose, they are looking for volunteers (companies/ public) who might be interested in, to present it, during the next meeting, to be held in Geneva, on 17 and 18 November, 2004. This also is in the spirit of the recommendations of the recent Joint ESCWA/UNSD/OPEC/ECE/ Regional Seminar, held in Beirut, in early June 2004.
Recent developments: (with links to SPE web site) - to 2008
Petroleum Resources Management System Approved by the SPE Board and WPC in March 2007, this new system for defining reserves and resources was developed over more than two years, working with SPE, AAPG, and SPEE. An archive of the prior definitions is also available.
PRMS Guide for Non-Technical Users The guide provides the concepts in the PRMS in a four-page document that is intended to provide a quick overview for non-technical professionals
Mapping of Reserve Definitions Around the world, government agencies and other organizations use slightly different definitions. This mapping provides a comparison of many of these definitions.
Estimating and Auditing Standards for Reserves To assist those responsible for estimating reserves, or auditing those estimates, a standard approach has been outlined, along with minimum qualifications for those involved in reserves auditing.