The Evidence for and Implications of a Fractal Distribution of Petroleum Reserves
This paper presents preliminary empirical and physical evidence that oil and gas field sizes are fractally distributed. Further, the paper shows that this evidence predicts a fractal dimension greater than 1.0, which implies that larger quantities of hydrocarbons exist in smaller fields than in larger fields. If this hypothesis is true more hydrocarbons remain undiscovered in smaller fields than have been discovered to date, even in mature areas. If the hypothesis is false, the outlook for mature areas is not nearly so optimistic.
The paper also presents a list of "key questions" that should be answered before one could be certain of a fractal distribution of reserves, and it gives a reliable estimate of the distribution's dimension.