How can an investor or anyone with an interest in oil and gas reserves be assured that an estimate was professionally prepared by qualified individuals, and in full compliance with the relevant definitions? In today's environment, we simply do not have such an assurance. Although many individual companies have developed their own internal standards, they vary widely from company to company and country to country. Standards established by the SPE in 1977 describing the minimum qualifications for individuals estimating and/or auditing reserves estimates and reserves information have been updated somewhat since that time but remain inadequate in the opinion of many to meet the technological, regulatory and ethical challenges of today.
This paper presents the current status of an initiative generated in early 2004 and launched in September of that year by a group of professional geoscientists and engineers to both recognize and elevate the profession of petroleum reserves evaluation. The effort currently involves concerned individuals from across the energy spectrum working to launch a web-based program leading to the certification of qualified individuals in both geoscience and petroleum engineering. The certification program's sponsors are AAPG and SPEE, but other members and observers from a broad spectrum of the industry are also involved in the development. The comprehensive initiative includes steps to define a common body of knowledge for the reserves evaluation function, make available a complete set of training material, develop and oversee examinations required for certification, and develop other standards of ethical and professional conduct expected of the certified members.
Information is more useful when it is perceived to be reliable. This is true for information on reserves estimates as well. Reliability is increased when the user has the assurance that the information was professionally prepared using well-defined standards. How can an investor or anyone with an interest in oil and gas reserves be assured that an estimate was professionally prepared by qualified individuals, and in full compliance with the relevant definitions? In today's environment, we simply do not have such an assurance.