Monte Carlo Simulation for the Oil and Gas Industry

Management and Information Reservoir Descriptions and Dynamics

Course Description

During this course, participants work directly with spreadsheet-based risk simulation software (either Crystal Ball or @Risk) to examine and modify prepared models and to create simple models of their own. Participants will also analyze historical data using histograms, cross plots, correlation in Excel, and software to fit probability distributions to data. Several worksheet models are included. The course covers software basics such as menus, settings, distributions, outputs, graphics, statistics, sensitivity,  analysis, interpreting results, and creating reports.


  • Monte Carlo simulation and the language of statistics
  • Simulation design
  • Crystal Ball (or @RISK) features, including inputs, outputs, settings, simulation and reports
  • Models to estimate reserves
  • Changing distribution types and parameters
  • Production and economic forecasts
  • Operating and capital expenses
  • Cross plots and correlation in Excel
  • Handling rare events
  • Comprehensive models and linking model components
  • Class Problems

Learning Level


Course Length

2 Days

Why Attend

This course helps with making better business decisions by addressing the uncertainty and risks that occur during projects or planning. Better allocation of money for budgeting is needed, particularly in a competitive environment with significant swings in prices and expectations. Because of that, it becomes even more important to plan ahead for variations and for what might be beyond single numbers.

Who Attends

This course is intended for engineers, geologists and geophysicists, managers, planners, economists and technical support staff.

Special Requirements

Attendees must bring a laptop to class. No previous knowledge of the subject is assumed, although you should be familiar with Excel. Participants are also expected to have experience using models to solve problems, such as production or economic forecasting, estimating reserves or scheduling.


1.6 CEUs (Continuing Education Units) are awarded for this 2-day course.

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations must be received no later than 14 days prior to the course start date. Cancellations made after the 14 day window will not be refunded.  Refunds will not be given due to no show situations.

Training sessions attached to SPE conferences and workshops follow the cancellation policies stated on the event information page.  Please check that page for specific cancellation information.

SPE reserves the right to cancel or re-schedule courses at will.  Notification of changes will be made as quickly as possible; please keep this in mind when arranging travel, as SPE is not responsible for any fees charged for cancelling or changing travel arrangements.

We reserve the right to substitute course instructors as necessary.

Full regional cancellation policies can be found at the Cancellation Policy page within the SPE Training Course Catalog.


Susan Peterson has more than 20 years of experience as a consultant, project manager/senior drilling engineer, and as an instructor. Peterson specializes in risk analysis and decision-making methods for full field development, and AFE time and cost models. As a consultant, Peterson performs project-specific risk analysis and provides training on decision and risk analysis. She has led a risk analysis and decision methods initiative, and has been responsible for the risk analysis on projects ranging from fast-track remote gas field development to large capital expenditure oil development. She holds PhD and MS degrees from Texas A&M University and a BS from Marietta College, all in petroleum engineering.