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Valuing Barrels of Oil Equivalent

James Smith ()

The Energy Journal, 2015, vol. Volume 36, issue Adelman Special Issue

Abstract: By convention, the petroleum industry relies on thermal equivalence to summarize the results of upstream oil and gas operations - measuring outputs in terms of barrels of "oil equivalent." This despite the fact that the two commodities trade at nothing like thermal parity. Drawing on a well-known exponential production model of petroleum reserves, we demonstrate the potential for thermal equivalence to substantially distort common measures of exploration and development success. Drawing on a recent survey of actual upstream results, and relative to a proposed measure based on economic equivalence, we show that the extent of bias in estimates of value, cost, and profitability is indeed large.

JEL-codes: F0 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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