The Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday moved to force oil companies to place present dollar value on future revenues from their proven reserves.
The action is aimed at giving stockholders and investors a better idea of the companies' financial condition after inflation is considered.
Industry reaction to the proposal was predictably negative.
"This is little bit like asking Sears, Roebuck - with a quantity of uncut cloth on the shelves - to estimate how much money they are going to earn on the clothing they will eventually make by cutting up the cloth," said David Foster of the Matural Gas Supply Committee, a gas producers' trade association.
"It strikes me as requiring a degree of speculation from companies which I thought was prevented by the securities laws," he added.
According to Victor H. Brown, vice president and controller of Standard Oil Co (Indiana), "We believe that the dollar value figure computed by following the SEC proposal would be of questionalbe significance. The resultant figure beging based on current prices would not be indicitive of the current value of reservies nor would it be indicative of the current costs of finding and developing reservies.
"Since the significance of the figure is questionable, we question whether its display should be required," Brown added in a statement released yesterday.
The SEC proposal, which awaits public reaction, was developed after the commission received the recommendations of a research paper by two University of Texas professors, Glen Welsch and Edward Deakin.
Their report, which was sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, proposed the concept to computing a value of the oil company's proved reserves by using a discounted cash flow technique.
The two-man team contended this approach was necessary to meet the "needs of policy makers or investors because (historical data alone) will not provide sufficient information about the current economics of the oil and gas industry."
The sponsoring API, however, opposed the teams' conclusions, and offered an alternative approach that relied primarily on historical financial and operating data to meet SEC requirements in the area of corporate financial disclosure.