SEC prodding U.S. oil firms to break out crude in reserves -WSJ

Sept 13 Fri Sep 13, 2013 9:23pm EDT

Sept 13 (Reuters) - The Securities and Exchange Commission is pressing U.S. energy firms to disclose the amount of oil in their reserves as compared with other, less valuable liquids like propane, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

Exxon Mobil Corp, Anadarko Petroleum Corp, BHP Billiton Ltd and ConocoPhillips are among companies that have agreed to reveal how much of the hydrocarbons they can pump at a profit is crude, rather than liquids derived from natural gas, the Journal reported.

Combining the reserves of oil and liquid gases can make it harder for investors to figure out the amount of money a company is likely to make by producing those fuels, the daily said, citing analysts.

The SEC has questioned at least 14 companies about how much of their reserves are liquids versus oil since 2010, including seven in the last 12 months, according to a WSJ review the report cited. Eight of those firms, including the nation's biggest oil and gas producer, Exon, agreed to provide more disclosure in 2012.

Prices for U.S. oil futures, which stood at $89.84 per barrel at the end of December 2010, jumped to $108.21 per barrel as of Friday.

However, some companies continue to report combined reserves for oil and other liquids, prompting regulators to push them to provide a break-up when the non-crude liquids are significant, according to the Journal.

A review of the commission's correspondence with energy companies suggests that officials insist on more disclosure when liquid gases make up about 6 percent of a company's production or reserves, the paper said.

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