Real Option Analysis versus DCF Valuation - An Application to a Tunisian Oilfield

  •  Lotfi TALEB    


The most widely used methods of choosing investments are undoubtedly the NPV. This method is often criticized because it does not allow to take into account certain main characteristics of the investment decision, notably the irreversibility, the uncertainty and the possibility of delaying the investment. On the other hand, the real options approach (ROA) is proposed to capture the flexibility associated with an investment project. This article examines whether the value of an undeveloped oil field varies according to whether the ROA or NPV assessment is used. In addition, to value the option to defer, we developed a continuous time model derived from previous work by Brenan and Schwartz (1985), McDonald and Siegel (1986) and Paddock, Siegel, and Smith (1988). The originality of the proposed model gives rise to a simple and uncomplicated method for determining the value of the option. Findings indicate that the two evaluation methods lead to the same decision, the project is economically profitable. In this oil investment project studied, despite the positive value of the option, the importance of projected cash-flows and optimistic forecasts of the price of oil, led us not to exercise the option and to undertake the project immediately.

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