Petoro - a driving force on the Norwegian continental shelf

SDFI and Petoro annual report 2012

SDFI notes (Norwegian Accounting Act)


Petoro’s object, on behalf of the government and at the government’s expense and risk, is to be responsible for and manage the commercial aspects of the State’s Direct Financial Interest (SDFI) in petroleum operations on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) and associated activities. The company’s overall goal is to maximise the total financial value of the portfolio on a commercial basis.

Petoro served at 31 December 2012 as the licensee on behalf of the SDFI for interests in 158 production licences and 15 joint ventures for pipelines and terminals. The company also managed the government’s commercial interests in Mongstad Terminal DA and Vestprosess DA, as well as the shares in Norsea Gas AS and Norpipe Oil AS. Petoro has the same rights and obligations as other licensees, and manages the SDFI on the NCS on a commercial basis. The company maintains separate accounts for all transactions relating to its participatory interests, so that revenue and costs from production licences and joint ventures are kept separate from the operation of the company. Cash flows from the portfolio are transferred to the central government’s own accounts with the Bank of Norway. Petoro prepares separate annual accounts for the SDFI, with an overview of the participatory interests managed by the company and associated resource accounting.

Administration of the portfolio is subject to the accounting regulations for the government. Accounts for the portfolio are presented both on the cash basis used by the government and in accordance with the Norwegian Accounting Act.

The principal difference between the profit based on the Accounting Act and on a cash basis is that the latter includes cash payment for investments and excludes depreciation.
Adjustments are also made for accruals of income and expenses on a cash basis, with a corresponding adjustment to debtors and creditors in the balance sheet. Realised currency loss/gain related to operating expenses and income is classified on the cash basis as operating expenses and income. The accounts based on the Accounting Act show realised currency loss/gain as financial expenses/income, and these items are accordingly not included in the operating profit.

Accounting principles

The SDFI’s interests in limited companies and partnerships with shared liability relating to the production of petroleum are normally included under the respective items in the income statement and balance sheet in accordance with the proportionate consolidation method for the SDFI’s share of income, expenses, assets and liabilities. The same applies to undivided interests in oil and gas operations, including pipeline transport, which are not organised as companies.

Dividend from the shares in Norsea Gas AS and Norpipe Oil AS is recorded as a financial item. In addition, revenue and expenses from production licences with net profit agreements (relates to licences awarded in the second licensing round) are recorded as other income using the net method for each licence.

The SDFI’s participation in Statoil Natural Gas LLC (SNG) is treated as an investment in an associate and recorded in accordance with the equity method. This means that the SDFI’s share of the equity is recorded in the balance sheet under financial fixed assets and its share of the profit/loss is recorded as operating revenue/expense in the income statement.

The functional currency is the Norwegian krone.

Principles for revenue recognition
The company records revenue from the production of oil, NGL and gas using the sales method. This means that sales are recorded in the period when the volumes are lifted and sold to the customer.

Revenue from ownership in pipelines and land-based production plants is recorded when the service is rendered.

Gas swap and borrowing agreements where settlement takes the form of returning volumes are accrued as a general rule using the sales method. At the same time, a provision is made for the associated production costs in the event that the SDFI has lent/borrowed gas. When lending gas from the SDFI, the lower of production expense and estimated net present value of the future sales price is capitalised as a pre-paid expense at the date of the loan. Furthermore, the SDFI’s share of location swaps related to the purchase or sale of third-party gas is recorded net as operating revenue. The SDFI’s share of time swaps is recorded gross.

Liabilities arising because too much crude oil has been lifted in relation to the SDFI’s share of the production partnership are valued at production cost, while receivables due from the other partners in the production partnerships are valued at the lower of production cost and the estimated present value of the future sales price.

Purchase of third-party gas for onward sale is recorded gross as operating costs. The corresponding revenue is included in sales income.
Purchases and sales between fields and/or transport systems
Internal expenses and revenues relating to purchases and sales between fields and/or transport systems in which the SDFI is both owner and shipper are eliminated, so that only costs paid to third parties appear as net transport costs.

Foreign currencies
Transactions in foreign currencies are recorded at the exchange rate prevailing at the time of the transaction. Monetary items in foreign currencies are valued at the exchange rate prevailing on the balance sheet date. Unrealised currency losses and realised currency gains and losses are recorded as financial income or expenses.

Classification of assets and liabilities
Assets intended for ownership or use over a longer period are classified as fixed assets. Other assets are classified as current assets. Debtors due within one year are classified as current assets. Similar criteria are applied for classifying current and long-term liabilities.

Research and development
Research and development expenses are expensed on a continuous basis. In addition to spending on direct research and development in each partnership, the operator also charges expenses for general research and development to the partnership in accordance with the size of exploration, development and operating expenses in the partnership.
Exploration and development costs
Petoro employs the successful-efforts method to record exploration and development costs for oil and gas operations by the SDFI in the SDFI accounts. This means that expenses related to geological and geophysical surveying are expensed. However, expenses related to exploration drilling are capitalised in anticipation of evaluation, and are expensed should the evaluation show that the discovery is not commercial. Considerable time can elapse between the drilling of a well and a final development decision. Capitalised exploration expenses are accordingly assessed quarterly to determine whether sufficient progress is being made in the projects so that the criteria for capitalisation continue to be met. Dry wells in production licences or those where progress is insufficient are expensed.

Expenses relating to development, including wells, field installations and production facilities, are capitalised. Costs for operational preparations are expensed on a continuous basis.

Tangible fixed assets
Tangible fixed assets and investments are carried at historical cost with a deduction for planned depreciation. Fixed assets under construction are carried at historical cost.

Fixed assets leased on terms which largely transfer the financial risk and control to the company (financial leasing) are capitalised under tangible fixed assets and the associated lease commitment is recognised as a commitment under long-term interest-bearing debt at the net present value of the leasing charges. The fixed asset is subject to planned depreciation, and the commitment is reduced by the leasing charge paid after deduction of calculated interest costs.

The SDFI does not take up loans, and incurs no interest expenses associated with the financing of development projects.

Ordinary depreciation of oil and gas production facilities is calculated for each field and field-dedicated transport system using the unit of production method. This means that the acquisition cost is depreciated in line with the relationship between volume sold during the period and reserves at the beginning of the period. Investments in wells are depreciated in line with the reserves made available by the wells drilled.

Petoro determines the reserve base for depreciation purposes on the basis of estimated remaining reserves per field, which are adjusted downwards by a factor calculated as the relationship between the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate’s sum of low reserves in production and the sum of basis reserves in production for oil and gas reserves respectively. This reserve adjustment totalled 70.3 per cent of expected remaining oil reserves in 2012, while the corresponding figure for gas fields was 87.3 per cent. The reserve estimates are revised annually, and possible changes affect only further depreciation expenses.

Ordinary depreciation for land-based plants and transport systems as well as for riser platforms used by several fields is calculated on a straight-line basis over the remaining licence period at 31 December.

Other tangible fixed assets are depreciated on a straight-line basis over their expected economic lifetime.

Intangible fixed assets
Intangible fixed assets are carried at their fair value at the time of acquisition. They are amortised over the expected contract period or their expected economic lifetime, and possible write-downs are deducted.

Each time the accounts are made up, assets are reviewed for indications of a fall in value. Oil and gas fields or installations are normally treated as separate units for assessing write-downs. Should the recoverable value be lower than the book value, and this decline is not expected to be temporary, the asset is written down to its recoverable value, which is the higher of the asset’s fair value less sales costs and its utility value. The utility value is calculated using discounted cash flows, which are discounted using a discount rate based on the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) calculated for the company.

The write-down will be reversed if the conditions for writing down the asset no longer apply.

Maintenance expenses
Expenses related to repair and maintenance are expensed on a continuous basis. Expenses for major replacements and renewals which significantly extend the economic life of the tangible fixed assets are capitalised.

Abandonment and removal expenses
Under the terms of a licence, the authorities can require the licensees to remove offshore installations when their production life comes to an end. The estimated fair value of liabilities for removal and clear-up is recorded in the accounts in the period when the liability arises, normally when wells are drilled and installations are built and ready for use. The liability is capitalised as part of the acquisition cost of wells and installations, and depreciated together with this. Changes to estimated cessation and removal costs are recorded and capitalised in the same manner and depreciated over the remaining economic life of the assets. The discount rate applied when calculating the fair value of a removal liability is based on the interest rate for Norwegian government bonds with the same maturity as the removal

A change in the liability relating to its time value – the effect of the removal time having come one year closer – is recorded as a financial expense.

Stocks of spare parts and operating materials are valued at the lower of acquisition cost in accordance with the Fifo principle or net realisable value. Spare parts of insignificant value for use in connection with the operation of oil or gas fields are expensed at the time of acquisition. Spare parts of significant value are recorded as stock at the time of acquisition and expensed when they are used in operations. Petoro accepts the assessments made by operators regarding which materials should be capitalised and which expensed.

Trade debtors and other debtors are carried at face value less a provision for expected loss. This provision is based on an individual assessment of each debtor.     

Bank deposits
Bank deposits include cash, bank deposits and other monetary instruments with a maturity of less than three months at the date of purchase. Cash flows from oil and gas sales are transferred to the government on a daily basis. Booked bank deposits accordingly include the SDFI’s share of bank deposits in partnerships with shared liability in which the SDFI has an interest.  

Current liabilities
Current liabilities are valued at their face value.

The SDFI is exempt from income tax in Norway. The SDFI is registered for VAT in Norway. Virtually all the SDFI’s sales of oil and gas products from its activity take place outside the geographic area to which Norway’s VAT legislation applies (the continental shelf and exports). The SDFI invoices these sales to the buyer free of tax. At the same time, the SDFI can deduct possible VAT incurred on invoiced costs which are relevant to its activity.

Financial instruments
Since the SDFI is included in the government’s overall risk management, only limited use is made of financial instruments.

Such instruments are valued at their market value on the balance sheet date. Unrealised losses relating to financial instruments are recorded as expenses. Unrealised gains are recorded as income if all the following criteria are fulfilled: the instrument is classified as a current asset, is part of a trading portfolio with a view to onward sale, is traded on an exchange, an authorised marketplace or similar regulated market outside Norway, and has a good ownership spread and liquidity. Valuations are based on a portfolio assessment where this is regarded as the most sensible approach given the nature of the financial instruments, and where the portfolio is balanced in volume and time. Eliminations are carried out where legal rights exist to set off unrealised loses and gains, or where deposit/margins which correspond with the market value of the derivatives have been paid and capitalised.

The valuation rules for fixed assets are applied to financial instruments not classified as current assets.
Contingent liabilities
Probable and quantifiable losses are expensed.

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