Reserves Overbooking: The Problem We're Finally Going to Talk About

Olsen, Grant T. (Texas A&M University) | Lee, W. John (Texas A&M University) | Blasingame, Thomas (Texas A&M University)

OnePetro 

Summary

Oil and gas reserves estimates that honor disclosure requirements of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are critically important in the international oil and gas industry. Unfortunately, a number of exploration and production (E&P) companies have allegedly overstated and subsequently written down certain reserves volumes in recent years. In some cases, the consequences have been quite adverse. We document some of these cases of reserves overstatements and summarize the consequences. Reserves write downs are of obvious interest to numerous groups involved in the reserves estimation process and outcome, including estimators, managers, investors, creditors, and regulators. The magnitude and nature of recent overstatement cases, relative unfamiliarity with the SEC's inner workings, and the SEC's new reserves-reporting requirements increase the need to examine critically reserves disclosures and reserves overstatements.