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February 17th, 2021 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


FEBRUARY 17 , 2021 12:00-1:00pm


Warwick Investment Group

 “Visualizing Risk to Reduce Bias and Improve Decision Making:  My Favorite Diagrams”





All businesses and individuals make countless decisions daily.  The oil and gas business is no exception. We often decide swiftly, barely aware of making these decisions because our intuitive minds fill in knowledge gaps to construct a coherent narrative aligned with prior experiences, a form of the confirmational bias heuristic; the Past is the Key to the Present is the converse of the Doctrine of Uniformitarianism. While this heuristic can ease the burden of overthinking a decision, it leads to bias in decision making that is commonly compounded by the affect heuristic that introduces motivational bias to favor one’s own projects, e.g., propose a downspacing in Oklahoma, build leasehold the Williston Basin, join a wildcat in the GOM, expand pipeline capacity in Texas, sell assets in Ohio, or buy a stake in a Nebraska wind farm.  When deciding which projects to fund and how capital will be apportioned between them, it is imperative that decision makers trust that each project has been evaluated with a consistent methodology and that the projects selected represent an unbiased portfolio. This talk reviews some of the heuristics and traps that can cloud decision making and then presents three diagrams that enable visualization of the assessment of risk & uncertainty. These tools can help reduce the frequency and magnitude of poor decisions by reducing bias and helping communicate the degree of uncertainty. My favorite three diagrams are 1) the Maastricht Template (Shell), 2) the Fourfold Pattern (Kahneman & Tversky), and 3) the Truth-Lie-Ignorance Ternary (Cullen).  The utility of these diagrams will be examined using examples of equity determinations, bid round valuations, brokered sales packages, and reserves write-downs. These tools can be used far beyond the oil and gas business. Whether buying a house, selling stocks, or funding research projects, sustained success favors those who make decisions with an unbiased balanced vision.  


Andrew is the Senior Vice President of Geology at Warwick Investments Group, a position held for six years. Over the last 40 years Andrew’s lineage runs through Chesapeake, Shell International, EOG, Altex Oil, Clear Creek Silver Company, and Energy Reserves Group (Minerals Division). Andrew holds B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees in geology from the University of Oklahoma and the University of Oregon. He is first author on more than a dozen peer-reviewed publications primarily from field-based studies on Borneo, Papua New Guinea, the Galapagos Islands, and Oklahoma.  Dr. Cullen is an adjunct professor at the University of Oklahoma in the College of Law. He formerly chaired the Alumni Advisory Council for OU’s School of Geosciences and has also served on the Oklahoma City Geological Society’s board of directors. Since moving back to Oklahoma ten years ago Dr. Cullen has contributed more than twenty short technical articles to the society’s bi-monthly magazine, The Shale Shaker.  Andrew has been a reviewer for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists’ Grants-In-Aid program for 15 years, was an invited speaker at AAPG’s Play Maker forum, and was a co-organizer of a Hedberg Conference on Tropical Deltas. In the last two years, Andrew has reviewed submittals to the Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, Tectonics, and Earth Science Reviews. Dr. Cullen’s current research is focused on evidence for volcanic triggering of Late Devonian mass extinctions in the Woodford Shale, re-interpretation of the Meers fault in SW Oklahoma, and new play development in SE Oklahoma.