America may implement new rules on disclosure of oil and gas reserves

U.S. regulators will decide on the possible updating of rules on how companies disclose oil and gas reserves.

The Securities and Exchange Commission will hold a public meeting Tuesday to consider whether to issue a so-called concept release, often the first step toward rule changes. Critics say the SEC's current rules in this area are out of date and may result in companies understating reserves, a key indicator for the oil and gas industry.

John White, an SEC corporation finance division director, said the agency will consider seeking input on whether current rules, in place since 1978, should be revised to reflect newer technologies used to gauge a company's oil and gas reserves.

In a speech Monday to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, White said the SEC release will not delve into the two accounting methods used by oil and gas companies.

"It is focused on disclosure of reserves," White told reporters after his prepared remarks.

The SEC also will consider two rule changes targeting smaller public companies at its meeting Tuesday, White noted. One would make it easier for smaller firms to raise capital, while the second calls for certain reports filed by such firms to the SEC to be made electronically rather than on paper.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova