Play fair analysis

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Revision as of 13:38, 19 October 2015 by Jgosses (talk | contribs) (How Play Fairway Analysis Relates to Other Hydrocarbon Exploration Products)
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Play fairway analysis is two dimensional mapping of important regional trends for a play. The map consists of different polygons that show exploration significant trends. The purpose of this map is to visually guide where the main "fairway(s)" of exploration effort lie. It used in hydrocarbon and geothermal exploration, among others.

The Department of Energy website has information on Play Fairway Analysis for geothermal energy: [1] The information below is written from the perspective of hydrocarbon exploration.

The map is typically created at regional scale (tens or hundreds of kilometers scale) and often relatively early in the exploration of an area. Individual prospects and places to drill exploration wells may have not been identified yet. Each map is built for a specific period of geologic time. There may be multiple maps in the same area for different time periods or play types. Example elements for oil and gas exploration include regional structural trends (salt present or not) or gross depositional environments (shoreline sands or delta front sands or deepwater shale). Play fairway maps can contain different elements depending what information is available, needs of the user, and company specific definitions. Fairways on a map sometimes look like fairways on a golf course.

How Play Fairway Analysis Relates to Other Hydrocarbon Exploration Products

Exploration tasks or products most similar to fairway analysis include gross depositional environment mapping and common risk segment mapping [2]. Gross deposition mapping (GDEs) is similar to play fairway analysis but focused specifically on the environments that deposited the rocks at the time period you are considering. GDEs can be used as input into risk maps for reservoir and seal. (LINK TO GDE). Common risk segment mapping (CRS or CCRS) is also regional two dimensional regional mapping, but it by definition contains all critical risk elements to the play and is colored with green, yellow, red traffic light scheme to visualize exploration risk. (LINK TO CRS). Fairway Analysis is often done after gross depositional environment mapping but before common risk segment mapping.

How Play Fairway Maps Influence Exploration

Play fairway maps depict relevant trends in regional geology significant to exploration. One of their key roles is to show what is "off fairway" meaning it is unlikely to contain future discoveries of that play type. This information is commonly used to plan future exploration work as the individual or teams shifts to smaller scale exploration work. For example, this could mean shifting the exploration focus to a specific basin out of four basins examined or particular leases within a basin.