Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements ConocoPhillips
Note 1—Accounting Policies
- Consolidation Principles and Investments—Our consolidated financial statements include the accounts of majority-owned, controlled subsidiaries and variable interest entities where we are the primary beneficiary. The equity method is used to account for investments in affiliates in which we have the ability to exert significant influence over the affiliates' operating and financial policies. When we do not have the ability to exert significant influence, the investment is either classified as available-for-sale if fair value is readily determinable, or the cost method is used if fair value is not readily determinable. Undivided interests in oil and gas joint ventures, pipelines, natural gas plants and terminals are consolidated on a proportionate basis. Other securities and investments are generally carried at cost.
As a result of the separation of Phillips 66 on April 30, 2012, the results of operations for our former refining, marketing and transportation businesses; most of our former Midstream segment; our former Chemicals segment; and our power generation and certain technology operations included in our former Emerging Businesses segment (collectively, our “Downstream business”), have been classified as discontinued operations for all periods presented. In addition, the results of operations for our interest in the North Caspian Sea Production Sharing Agreement (Kashagan) and our Algeria and Nigeria businesses have been classified as discontinued operations for all periods presented. See Note 3—Discontinued Operations, for additional information.
We manage our operations through six operating segments, defined by geographic region: Alaska, Lower 48 and Latin America, Canada, Europe, Asia Pacific and Middle East, and Other International. For additional information, see Note 25—Segment Disclosures and Related Information. Unless indicated otherwise, the information in the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements relates to our continuing operations.
- Foreign Currency Translation—Adjustments resulting from the process of translating foreign functional currency financial statements into U.S. dollars are included in accumulated other comprehensive income in common stockholders' equity. Foreign currency transaction gains and losses are included in current earnings. Most of our foreign operations use their local currency as the functional currency.
- Use of Estimates—The preparation of financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses, and the disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities. Actual results could differ from these estimates.
- Revenue Recognition—Revenues associated with sales of crude oil, bitumen, natural gas, liquefied natural gas (LNG), natural gas liquids and other items are recognized when title passes to the customer, which is when the risk of ownership passes to the purchaser and physical delivery of goods occurs, either immediately or within a fixed delivery schedule that is reasonable and customary in the industry.
Revenues associated with producing properties in which we have an interest with other producers are recognized based on the actual volumes we sold during the period. Any differences between volumes sold and entitlement volumes, based on our net working interest, which are deemed to be nonrecoverable through remaining production, are recognized as accounts receivable or accounts payable, as appropriate. Cumulative differences between volumes sold and entitlement volumes are generally not significant.
Revenues associated with transactions commonly called buy/sell contracts, in which the purchase and sale of inventory with the same counterparty are entered into “in contemplation” of one another, are combined and reported net (i.e., on the same income statement line).
- Shipping and Handling Costs—We include shipping and handling costs in production and operating expenses for production activities. Transportation costs related to marketing activities are recorded in purchased commodities. Freight costs billed to customers are recorded as a component of revenue.
- Cash Equivalents—Cash equivalents are highly liquid, short-term investments that are readily convertible to known amounts of cash and have original maturities of 90 days or less from their date of purchase. They are carried at cost plus accrued interest, which approximates fair value.
- Short-Term Investments—Investments in bank time deposits and marketable securities (commercial paper and government obligations) with original maturities of greater than 90 days but less than one year are classified as short-term investments. See Note 15—Derivative and Financial Instruments, for additional information on these held-to-maturity financial instruments.
- Inventories—We have several valuation methods for our various types of inventories and consistently use the following methods for each type of inventory. Commodity-related inventories are valued at the lower of cost or market in the aggregate, primarily on the last-in, first-out (LIFO) basis. Any necessary lower-of-cost-or-market write-downs at year end are recorded as permanent adjustments to the LIFO cost basis. LIFO is used to better match current inventory costs with current revenues. Costs include both direct and indirect expenditures incurred in bringing an item or product to its existing condition and location, but not unusual/nonrecurring costs or research and development costs. Materials, supplies and other miscellaneous inventories, such as tubular goods and well equipment, are valued using various methods, including the weighted-average-cost method, and the first-in, first-out (FIFO) method, consistent with industry practice.
- Fair Value Measurements—We categorize assets and liabilities measured at fair value into one of three different levels depending on the observability of the inputs employed in the measurement. Level 1 inputs are quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities. Level 2 inputs are observable inputs other than quoted prices included within Level 1 for the asset or liability, either directly or indirectly through market-corroborated inputs. Level 3 inputs are unobservable inputs for the asset or liability reflecting significant modifications to observable related market data or our assumptions about pricing by market participants.
- Derivative Instruments—Derivative instruments are recorded on the balance sheet at fair value. If the right of offset exists and certain other criteria are met, derivative assets and liabilities with the same counterparty are netted on the balance sheet and the collateral payable or receivable is netted against derivative assets and derivative liabilities, respectively.
Recognition and classification of the gain or loss that results from recording and adjusting a derivative to fair value depends on the purpose for issuing or holding the derivative. Gains and losses from derivatives not accounted for as hedges are recognized immediately in earnings. For derivative instruments that are designated and qualify as a fair value hedge, the gains or losses from adjusting the derivative to its fair value will be immediately recognized in earnings and, to the extent the hedge is effective, offset the concurrent recognition of changes in the fair value of the hedged item. Gains or losses from derivative instruments that are designated and qualify as a cash flow hedge or hedge of a net investment in a foreign entity are recognized in other comprehensive income and appear on the balance sheet in accumulated other comprehensive income until the hedged transaction is recognized in earnings; however, to the extent the change in the value of the derivative exceeds the change in the anticipated cash flows of the hedged transaction, the excess gains or losses will be recognized immediately in earnings.
- Oil and Gas Exploration and Development—Oil and gas exploration and development costs are accounted for using the successful efforts method of accounting.
Property Acquisition Costs—Oil and gas leasehold acquisition costs are capitalized and included in the balance sheet caption properties, plants and equipment (PP&E). Leasehold impairment is recognized based on exploratory experience and management's judgment. Upon achievement of all conditions necessary for reserves to be classified as proved, the associated leasehold costs are reclassified to proved properties.
Exploratory Costs—Geological and geophysical costs and the costs of carrying and retaining undeveloped properties are expensed as incurred. Exploratory well costs are capitalized, or “suspended,” on the balance sheet pending further evaluation of whether economically recoverable reserves have been found. If economically recoverable reserves are not found, exploratory well costs are expensed as dry holes. If exploratory wells encounter potentially economic quantities of oil and gas, the well costs remain capitalized on the balance sheet as long as sufficient progress assessing the reserves and the economic and operating viability of the project is being made. For complex exploratory discoveries, it is not unusual to have exploratory wells remain suspended on the balance sheet for several years while we perform additional appraisal drilling and seismic work on the potential oil and gas field or while we seek government or co-venturer approval of development plans
or seek environmental permitting. Once all required approvals and permits have been obtained, the projects are moved into the development phase, and the oil and gas resources are designated as proved reserves.
Management reviews suspended well balances quarterly, continuously monitors the results of the additional appraisal drilling and seismic work, and expenses the suspended well costs as dry holes when it judges the potential field does not warrant further investment in the near term. See Note 8—Suspended Wells, for additional information on suspended wells.
Development Costs—Costs incurred to drill and equip development wells, including unsuccessful development wells, are capitalized.
Depletion and Amortization—Leasehold costs of producing properties are depleted using the unit-of-production method based on estimated proved oil and gas reserves. Amortization of intangible development costs is based on the unit-of-production method using estimated proved developed oil and gas reserves.
- Capitalized Interest—Interest from external borrowings is capitalized on major projects with an expected construction period of one year or longer. Capitalized interest is added to the cost of the underlying asset and is amortized over the useful lives of the assets in the same manner as the underlying assets.
- Depreciation and Amortization—Depreciation and amortization of PP&E on producing hydrocarbon properties and certain pipeline assets (those which are expected to have a declining utilization pattern), are determined by the unit-of-production method. Depreciation and amortization of all other PP&E are determined by either the individual-unit-straight-line method or the group-straight-line method (for those individual units that are highly integrated with other units).
- Impairment of Properties, Plants and Equipment—PP&E used in operations are assessed for impairment whenever changes in facts and circumstances indicate a possible significant deterioration
in the future cash flows expected to be generated by an asset group and annually in the fourth quarter following updates to corporate planning assumptions. If there is an indication the carrying amount of an asset may not be recovered, the asset is monitored by management through an established process where changes to significant assumptions such as prices, volumes and future development plans are reviewed. If, upon review, the sum of the undiscounted pre-tax cash flows is less than the carrying value of the asset group, the carrying value is written down to estimated fair value through additional amortization or depreciation provisions and reported as impairments in the periods in which the determination of the impairment is made. Individual assets are grouped for impairment purposes at the lowest level for which there are identifiable cash flows that are largely independent of the cash flows of other groups of assets—generally on a field-by-field basis for exploration and production assets. Because there usually is a lack of quoted market prices for long-lived assets, the fair value of impaired assets is typically determined based on the present values of expected future cash flows using discount rates believed to be consistent with those used by principal market participants or based on a multiple of operating cash flow validated with historical market transactions of similar assets where possible. Long-lived assets committed by management for disposal within one year are accounted for at the lower of amortized cost or fair value, less cost to sell, with fair value determined using a binding negotiated price, if available, or present value of expected future cash flows as previously described.
The expected future cash flows used for impairment reviews and related fair value calculations are based on estimated future production volumes, prices and costs, considering all available evidence at the date of review. The impairment review includes cash flows from proved developed and undeveloped reserves, including any development expenditures necessary to achieve that production. Additionally, when probable reserves exist, an appropriate risk-adjusted amount of these reserves may be included in the impairment calculation.
- Impairment of Investments in Nonconsolidated Entities—Investments in nonconsolidated entities are assessed for impairment whenever changes in the facts and circumstances indicate a loss in value has occurred and annually following updates to corporate planning assumptions. When such a condition is judgmentally determined to be other than temporary, the carrying value of the investment is written down to fair value. The fair value of the impaired investment is based on quoted market prices, if available, or upon the present value of expected future cash flows using discount rates believed to be consistent with those used by principal market participants, plus market analysis of comparable assets owned by the investee, if appropriate.
- Maintenance and Repairs—Costs of maintenance and repairs, which are not significant improvements, are expensed when incurred.
- Property Dispositions—When complete units of depreciable property are sold, the asset cost and related accumulated depreciation are eliminated, with any gain or loss reflected in the “Gain on dispositions” line of our consolidated income statement. When less than complete units of depreciable property are disposed of or retired, the difference between asset cost and salvage value is charged or credited to accumulated depreciation.
- Asset Retirement Obligations and Environmental Costs—The fair value of legal obligations to retire and remove long-lived assets are recorded in the period in which the obligation is incurred (typically when the asset is installed at the production location). When the liability is initially recorded, we capitalize this cost by increasing the carrying amount of the related PP&E. If, in subsequent periods, our estimate of this liability changes, we will record an adjustment to both the liability and PP&E. Over time the liability is increased for the change in its present value, and the capitalized cost in PP&E is depreciated over the useful life of the related asset. For additional information, see Note 10—Asset Retirement Obligations and Accrued Environmental Costs.
Environmental expenditures are expensed or capitalized, depending upon their future economic benefit. Expenditures relating to an existing condition caused by past operations, and those having no future economic benefit, are expensed. Liabilities for environmental expenditures are recorded on an undiscounted basis (unless acquired in a purchase business combination) when environmental assessments or cleanups are probable and the costs can be reasonably estimated. Recoveries of environmental remediation costs from other parties are recorded as assets when their receipt is probable and estimable.
- Guarantees—The fair value of a guarantee is determined and recorded as a liability at the time the guarantee is given. The initial liability is subsequently reduced as we are released from exposure under the guarantee. We amortize the guarantee liability over the relevant time period, if one exists, based on the facts and circumstances surrounding each type of guarantee. In cases where the guarantee term is indefinite, we reverse the liability when we have information indicating the liability is essentially relieved or amortize it over an appropriate time period as the fair value of our guarantee exposure declines over time. We amortize the guarantee liability to the related income statement line item based on the nature of the guarantee. When it becomes probable that we will have to perform on a guarantee, we accrue a separate liability if it is reasonably estimable, based on the facts and circumstances at that time. We reverse the fair value liability only when there is no further exposure under the guarantee.
- Share-Based Compensation—We recognize share-based compensation expense over the shorter of the service period (i.e., the stated period of time required to earn the award) or the period beginning at the start of the service period and ending when an employee first becomes eligible for retirement. We have elected to recognize expense on a straight-line basis over the service period for the entire award, whether the award was granted with ratable or cliff vesting.
- Income Taxes—Deferred income taxes are computed using the liability method and are provided on all temporary differences between the financial reporting basis and the tax basis of our assets and liabilities, except for deferred taxes on income and temporary differences related to cumulative translation adjustment (CTA) considered to be permanently reinvested in certain foreign subsidiaries and foreign corporate joint ventures. Allowable tax credits are applied currently as reductions of the provision for income taxes. Interest related to unrecognized tax benefits is reflected in interest and debt expense, and penalties related to unrecognized tax benefits are reflected in production and operating expenses.
- Taxes Collected from Customers and Remitted to Governmental Authorities—Sales and value-added taxes are recorded net.
- Net Income Per Share of Common Stock—Basic net income per share of common stock is calculated based upon the daily weighted-average number of common shares outstanding during the year, including unallocated shares held by the stock savings feature of the ConocoPhillips Savings Plan. Also, this calculation includes fully vested stock and unit awards that have not yet been issued as common stock, along with an adjustment to net income for dividend equivalents paid on unvested unit awards that are considered participating securities. Diluted net income per share of common stock includes unvested stock, unit or option awards granted under our compensation plans and vested but unexercised stock options, but only to the extent these instruments dilute net income per share, primarily under the treasury-stock method. Treasury stock and shares held by grantor trusts are excluded from the daily weighted-average number of common shares outstanding in both calculations. The earnings per share impact of the participating securities is immaterial.