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Accounting and Reporting Practices in the Petroleum Industry

James G. Nussbaum, James T. Huffman, Proceedings of 23rd Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1977)

The American petroleum industry has changed considerably in the past twenty years. There has been an enormous expansion in domestic operations accompanied by an unprecedented increase in the scale of overseas activities. The industry has received considerable attention and criticism in recent years, with the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 being the prime catalyst. It was not until that crisis that a great deal of attention was given to our nation's dependence on oil and gas as an energy source and to the effect that shortages and prices could have on our economy. In addition, the Embargo was probably the first overt act by foreign powers that made the American people truly aware of their dependence on foreign sources of oil and gas. This is true even though our major integrated oil companies and certain large independents have been exploring and operating in foreign countries since the early 1900's.

Until that Embargo and the resulting long lines at the gasoline stations, there was not a great deal of documentation outside of the oil companies themselves relative to production, reserves or worldwide relationships among oil companies. However, since 1973, there has been an intensive effort on the part of Congress to learn more about the petroleum industry and the companies that comprise it. This Congressional interest was first exemplified in the exhaustive investigation by t