Mitigating Bias, Blindness, and Illusions in E&P Decision Making

Management and Information

Course Description

Decisions in E&P ventures are affected by Bias, Blindness, and Illusions (BBI) which permeate our analyses, interpretations and decisions. This one-day course examines the influence of these cognitive pitfalls and presents techniques that can be used to mitigate their impact. Bias refers to errors in thinking whereby interpretations and judgments are drawn in an illogical fashion. Blindness is the condition where we fail to see an unexpected event in plain sight. Illusions refer to misleading beliefs based on a false impression of reality. All three can lead to poor decisions regarding which work to undertake, what issues to focus on, and whether to forge ahead or walk away from a project.

This course begins by examining the types of BBI that affect us. Awareness exercises, videos, industry examples, and mitigation exercises help illustrate how these manifest themselves and how we can lessen their impact. We then present oil and gas case studies that show their impact on decision-making and ask participants to identify the types of cognitive errors contributing to project outcomes. The course concludes with a mitigation ‘toolkit’ that can be applied to project work.

Course Outline

  1. Introduction

  2. Bias

    a. Anchoring, Availability, Confirmation, Framing, Information, and Overconfidence

    b. Motivational Bias

  3. Blindness and Illusion

    a. Perceptual Blindness

    b. Illusions of Knowledge, Potential, and Objectivity

  4. Case Studies

    a. Exploration

    b. Appraisal/Development

  5. Mitigation "Toolkit"

Learning Level


Course Length

1 Day

Why Attend

Participants have commented upon completion that the information in the course:

  • Resonates through all of what they do
  • Makes powerful use of industry examples
  • Provides ‘new’ tools that will be part of their everyday thought processes and interactions

Who Attends

The course is intended for anyone interested in understanding and lessening the impact of these cognitive errors in their work including geoscientists, engineers, managers, and executives.

Special Requirements



0.8 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) are awarded for this 1-day course.


Creties Jenkins is a Partner with Rose and Associates specializing in the characterization of unconventional reservoirs. Over the past decade he has conducted integrated studies, project reviews, and resource evaluations for 50+ companies and has taught 100+ industry courses and workshops. He has served as a technical editor, Distinguished Lecturer, and distinguished author for SPE and is a past president of the Energy Minerals Division of AAPG. Jenkins received a MS in Geology and a BS in Geological Engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines. He is a registered professional engineer and a registered professional geologist in Texas.