Petroleum resources are the quantities of hydrocarbons naturally occurring on or within the Earth’s crust.
Resources assessments estimate quantities in known and yet-to-be-discovered accumulations.
Resources evaluations are focused on those quantities that can potentially be recovered and marketed by commercial projects.
PRMS provides a consistent approach to estimating petroleum quantities, evaluating projects, and presenting results within a comprehensive classification framework.
International efforts to standardize the definitions of petroleum resources and how resources volumes are estimated began in the 1930s.
Early guidance focused on Proved Reserves.
Building on work initiated by the Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers (SPEE), the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) published definitions for all reserves categories in 1987.
In the same year, the World Petroleum Congress independently published reserves definitions that were strikingly similar.
In 1997, the 2 organizations jointly released a single set of definitions for reserves that could be used worldwide.
In 2000, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), SPE, and WPC jointly developed a classification system for all petroleum resources.
In 2007, the SPE/WPC/AAPG/SPEE Petroleum Resources Management System (PRMS) was issued and subsequently supported by the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG).
The document is referred to by the abbreviated term SPE-PRMS, with the caveat that the full title, including clear recognition of the co-sponsoring organizations, has been initially stated.
In 2011, the SPE/WPC/AAPG/SPEE/SEG published Guidelines for the Application of the PRMS.
The PRMS definitions and the related classification system are now in common use internationally to support petroleum project and portfolio management requirements.
PRMS is referenced for national reporting and regulatory disclosures in many jurisdictions and provides the commodity-specific specifications for petroleum under the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) to support petroleum project and portfolio management requirements.
The definitions provide a measure of comparability, reduce the subjective nature of resources estimation, and are intended to improve clarity in global communications regarding petroleum resources.
Technologies employed in petroleum exploration, development, production, and processing continue to evolve and improve.
The SPE Oil and Gas Reserves Committee works closely with related organizations to maintain the definitions and guidelines to keep current with evolving technology and industry requirements.