Those who have handled sciences have been either men of experiment or men of dogmas. The men of experiment are like the ant, they only collect and use; the reasoners resemble spiders, who make cobwebs out of their own substance. But the bee takes the middle course: it gathers its material from the flowers of the field, but transforms and digests it by a power of its own.

Francis Bacon, The New Organon, 1620.

Optimal use of geological experience can be achieved through databases, theory and statistical methods of analysis. Mathematical statistics offers a wide range of techniques that can be applied to prospect appraisal and resource assessment. A basic knowledge of probability and statistics is essential to understanding of appraisal techniques. Fortunately there are a number of excellent textbooks on the subject, directed to geological analysis, or particularly to the prospect/resource estimation process. In this page, and related pages, we discuss some of the basics and give references to the relevant literature.

- Probability
- Distributions
- Distribution parameters
- Bayes theorem
- Prior distributions for geological variables
- Update procedure for a normal distribution
- Correlation and regression
- Multivariate analysis
- Analysis of Variance
- Geostatistics (Kriging)
- Monte Carlo simulation
- Addition of statistical distributions

Here is a list of some of the books and proceedings of conferences that have a bearing on statistics used for prospect appraisal and resource assessment:

**"Methods and Models for Assessing Energy Resources"**(1975) by ed. First IIASA conference on Energy Resources, May 1975) by ed. Grenon, M., 626 p. Proceedings v. 5.**"An introduction to Exploration Risk Analysis"**(1977, 1984),by R.E.Megill, 1st and 2nd ed., Pennwell Publ. Co., Tulsa, Oklahoma, 273 p.**"Oil and Gas Forecasting"**(1990) by Lawrence J. Drew. 252 p., Oxford University Press.- "Techniques for Determining Probabilities of Geological Events and Processes"by Hunter, R.G. and C.J.Mann, (1992), 364 p., Oxford University Press.
**"The Business of Petroleum Exploration"**(1992) by ed. Steinmetz, R. 382 p., AAPG Treatise of Petroleum Geology, Handbook of Petroleum Geology.**"Computing Risk for Oil Prospects: Principles and Programs"**(1995) by Harbough, J.W., J.C.Davis & J.Wendebourg. 451 p., Pergamon or Elsevier.**"Risk Analysis and Management of Petroleum Exploration Ventures"**(2001) by Rose, P., 164 p., AAPG Methods in Exploration Series, No 12.**"Quantification and Prediction of Hydrocarbon Resources"**(1993) by ed. Doré, A.G..352 p., Proceedings of the Norwegian Petroleum Society Conference, December 1993, Stavanger, Norway, published in 1996.**"Risk & Uncertainty in E&P"**(2008), in a special BAAPG issue, V. 92, No.10, p.1251 - 1456.**"Fundamentals of Basin and Petroleum Systems Modeling"**by Hantschel,T and A.J.Kauerauf (2009) . Springer Verlag, 476.p.