First of all the producers are not doing anything technically wrong. They are following the SEC regulation and the financial statements are being audited each year. It is interesting to note that other industries that conduct research and development must have their costs expensed to the Income Statement in the current year. For software companies none of the costs of development are capitalized. Why is oil and gas exactly the opposite? Our argument is therefore with the eligibility or methodology of capitalization of the capital assets that the SEC prescribes. Since approximately 1977 it has been either Full Cost Accounting or Successful Efforts. Either method enables the producer to capitalize all of the costs involved in the drilling, completion, equipping, gathering and plants developments. In a capital intensive industry these are the costs that drive the business. Essentially any cost involved in the development of a property is capitalized to the Property, Plant & Equipment account on the Balance Sheet. These costs will then be depleted based on the amount of the production volumes produced that year, over the reserves that the property has booked and verified by the independent engineers. And as I mentioned these are all audited by the public accounting firms, therefore they are reasonable in terms of their accuracy and in compliance with the SEC.
The difficulty that this provides the oil and gas producer is in the effective deployment of their capital resources over the lifetime of the properties. As work is continually done to the property the reserves continue to increase and these increases are recognized by the independent engineers. Therefore reducing the amount of capital recognized in each year's calculation of costs. Oil and gas being principly a scientifically based business where the principals who operate the producers need to be from the earth science and engineering disciplines. Feel that having a large balance sheet with high balances of Property, Plant & Equipment reflect a healthy producer. Which of course it reflects nothing of the sort. It only shows that the producer spent x amount on its capital assets. Ideally, these asset categories should be turned over as quickly as possible so that the capital that was used in developing the property can be recognized in the Income Statement, evaluate the performance of the management, and in turn, return the cash resources used in developing those assets back to the producer by way of cash and profits earned. That is the theory, the flaw comes by way of the oil and gas commodity prices are inadequate to earn profits.
There is an attitude that the oil and gas industry does not operate on the basis of earning profits. It is operated on the basis of cash flow. It is this accounting methodology and this belief in cash flow that have jointly conspired to operate the industry on the basis where the investors have been subsidizing the consumers of their energy products. This is done by keeping the assets on the Balance Sheet for long periods of time and never recognizing these costs as part of the business. Hence the investors are consistently asked for additional money, the prices received are inadequate to capture and recognize all of the costs profitably, and the producers never have the money they invested in the capital assets returned to them to reinvest in the business.
Most producers operate on the basis of two accounting reports for operations. The Statement of Expenditures reports the amounts of capital that has been deployed over the life of the project. These at no time show the amount of depletion that has been recorded. The other report is the Statement of Operations. This reflects the actual revenues, less royalties and operating costs. Note the Statement of Expenditures is rarely matched with the Statement of Operations. Included in the operating costs of the Statement of Operations are the overhead allowances that are permitted through the various Petroleum Accounting Societies. These seek to allow an amount for overhead to be recognized. These are in the thousands of dollars and are woefully inadequate to provide the operator with an offset to the real cost of the overhead of their operation. So when they say the property is profitable it is on the basis of the Statement of Operations that it is. The actual costs incurred in terms of overhead by the producers as reported on the financial statement is an immaterial amount of 5 - 10% of revenues in the General & Administrative category. However these are the net costs after 75 - 80% of the overhead has been capitalized to the Property, Plant & Equipment accounts. And the percentages that I am using here are generalizations of when the commodity prices were much higher, at these lower commodity prices the G&A will be a far greater percentage of the revenue of the producer.
We have seen many producers being forced to take significant write downs of their capital assets in the 2015 financial reports. Eliminating essentially all of the profits that were reported over the past few decades. Supporting my thesis that based on an appropriate accounting, oil and gas has not been profitable at any time this current century. This is why there is a constant demand for capital. The money goes in, and never comes back because the prices charged are inadequate to cover the costs to find and produce oil and gas. What is needed is the price maker strategy of the decentralized production model in the Preliminary Specification. It uses a pricing calculation that includes the actual costs of the overhead of the producer. This in our system will be the service providers administrative and accounting billings that are incurred if there was production. There will also be consideration of the capital necessary to produce the property included in the pricing calculation. One that amortize the capital costs of the property within a reasonable period of time. I think it should be three years. Setting up an interesting dynamic in terms of what is profitable and should be produced and what is not profitable and should remain shut-in.
Oil and gas is a capital intensive, mature business. Profits are the measure of the management's performance. What I am suggesting here is we begin operating and evaluating the industry on that basis. Continuing to invest irretrievable volumes of capital each year is not doing anyone any good. I’m surprised it has gone on for this long. It needs to stop and that can only be done through the development of the Preliminary Specification.
The Preliminary Specification and user community provides the oil and gas producer with the most dynamic, innovative, profitable and successful means of oil and gas operations. People, Ideas & Objects Revenue Model specifies the means in which investors can participate in these user defined software developments. Users are welcome to join me here. Together we can begin to meet the future demands for energy. And don’t forget to join our network on Twitter @piobiz anyone can contact me at 403-200-2302 or email here.