UNFC: Expanding the influence of PRMS beyond petroleum
MacDonald D., Falcone G., Heiberg S., Ross J., Griffiths C., Denelle F., Coll C.
Copyright 2016, Society of Petroleum Engineers. The Petroleum Resources Management System published in 2007 (PRMS-2007) is firmly established as the most widely used resource classification system in the oil and gas sector. It also provides the foundation and keystones for consistent application to petroleum resources of the United Nations Framework Classification for Fossil Energy and Mineral Reserves and Resources 2009 (UNFC-2009). UNFC-2009 is designed as a generic classification system for any commodity, with extremely broad potential application. It comprises a set of high level specifications (rules of application) which provide the necessary "umbrella" framework for consistent classification across all commodity types, while the relationship with PRMS-2007 ensures consistency for the petroleum commodity type. A similar arrangement, known as a bridging document, exists for solid minerals via the Committee for Mineral Reserves International Reporting Standards (CRIRSCO) Template and for nuclear fuel resources based on the classification system of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)/International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). UNFC-2009, supported by PRMS-2007 and the other bridged systems, now provides an excellent tool for comparing on a common basis all significant fossil energy projects. The design, flexibility and granularity of UNFC-2009 mean that its application can be broadened to encompass injection projects, and importantly the geological storage of CO2. While UNFC-2009 provides a tool for classifying and comparing fossil energy projects, there is currently no global classification system able to address the rapidly-expanding sector of renewable energies. The renewable energy industry has become a fully commercialized industry, in which some oil and gas Majors are starting to play a role. The development of a classification system for renewable energies is now required, and a project under the UN umbrella was started for that purpose in 2013. Such development draws on the only global multi-commodity classification system in existence, namely UNFC-2009, to ensure that all the existing knowledge and experience is used, while also achieving comparability of estimated future supplies from both renewable and fossil energy sources. This is where the three key principles behind UNFC-2009 will be of particular value to the renewable energy industry: the application of the proj ect concept to resource classification, the description of the technical & commercial maturities of this project as key attributes of the resource, and the adoption of a range of uncertainty in estimated recoverable quantities from that project. Generic specifications for the application of UNFC-2009 to renewable energies were developed over the last three years and are available. Commodity-specific specifications, related to the Generic specifications but addressing specific renewable energy commodities, are currently being developed. Geothermal-specific specifications were developed in 2015-16 and are available for public comments. Work on bioenergy-specific specifications is making good progress while a work group to develop solar-specific specifications is being initiated, to be followed by two more work groups addressing hydropower and wind, respectively. This paper will discuss how the key principles of UNFC-2009, hence PRMS-2007, are being applied to the development of renewable energy classification and why this is of relevance to the petroleum industry in building a sustainable energy mix for future generations.