Accurately Disclosing Oil Reserves

Yesterday’s W$J reported on an effort by oil companies to change the way reserves are reported in securities filings. SEC rules, it seems, mandate that reserves be measured in a manner that understates the actual amount of available oil. For example, the rules (available here) require that only proven reserves (those for which there is a “reasonable certainty” of actual recovery) be reported. On first glance, this doesn’t sound unreasonable, but the manner in which “reasonable certainty” is determined essentially translates the criterion into one of “virtual certainty.”

Read the full piece here