The three business segments are Exploration and Production (E&P), Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Transmission and Distribution (T&D) (BG Report 2011, pp 4-7). Most of BG plc’s E&P activities are conducted through subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures (BG Report 2011, pp…
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Of the three business segments of the company, the E&P segment is the largest in terms of non-current assets subject to impairment issues. Oil and gas exploration is a capital intensive activity and all costs incurred are capitalized as intangible assets until oil or gas is discovered. Once the reserves are proven, these costs are transferred to property, plant and equipment in the company balance sheet. Costs incurred on unsuccessful oil and gas fields are written off in the in the income statement (BG Report 2011, pp 89).
This method of accounting based on “successful efforts” is not a term defined in the IFRS 6 but used by the oil and gas industry as a carry over from previous GAAP practices (KPMG, 2008). BG plc does not differentiate between development fields and production fields. This too is inline with accepted industry practice (KPMG, 2008).
Non current assets are reviewed at least once a year for impairment. As on 31 December 2011, BG Group held a balance of $ 4,383 million in expenditure related to unproved oil and gas reserves within the category of intangible assets. In the previous accounting year, this figure was higher at $5,342 million (BG Report 2011, pp 89).
For assessment of impairment, BG plc combines oil and gas production fields into cash generating units based on geographical location, use of common facilities and marketing arrangements (BG Report 2011, pp90). This disclosure is not usually made in Oil company reports (KPMG, 2008) and is therefore an improvement on industry practice.
BG plc uses the net present value of future cash flows for impairment assessment using certain short term and long term assumptions depending on the nature of the asset. The Exploration & Production business segment is particularly sensitive to commodity prices. Impairment testing of oil and gas properties is based on assessment of proven and probable reserve estimates using the SEC definition (BG
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