‘Accounting’ for Growth in the Upstream Oil & Gas Industry

For companies in the upstream oil and gas sector – those that locate and drill for resources – the return on each well depends on how effectively the entire project is managed. Though there are many contributing factors, one that is often overlooked is the accounting process. There is tremendous opportunity for the IT staff and finance team to work together to create an accounting system that can evolve along with the business’s needs.

To further strengthen our expertise in this critical area, Capgemini America Inc. has acquired SSP, a solutions provider for all areas of upstream petroleum accounting.

Growth in the Upstream Industry

The shale gas boom in the U.S. has led to rapid expansion for incumbents and the entry of new players.  According to the International Energy Agency, advances in extracting oil from shale rock drove a 39 percent jump in U.S. production since 2011, the steepest rise in history, and will boost output to a 28-year high this year. The IEA also projects that the U.S. will surpass Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil producer by 2015, and be close to energy self-sufficiency in the next two decades.

In order to stay competitive with high finding costs, confining regulations and changing energy commodity prices, petroleum companies are constantly looking for more efficient, yet flexible, industry-specific ERP systems and business processes to streamline their business activities and become more nimble in evaluating acquisitions and new business ventures.

Pressure on Accounting Functions

These pressures create challenges for back-office functions, and accounting is no exception. Solutions must account for the following complex operations:

  • Recording production volumes, including production volume allocations, regulatory reporting and partner reporting.
  • Booking revenue processing owner disbursements
  • Recording sales and expenses associated with the sale of petroleum products
  • Tracking spending on shared assets in joint ventures (e.g., wells and facilities) and bill outside parties for their share of the amount.

Generalized ERP and accounting software are not easily adapted to these challenges, creating the need for a flexible and industry-specific solution.

Acquisition of SSP

SSP is an SAP channel partner and has delivered a significant number of upstream oil and gas implementations of SAP® solutions in North America in the last five years. Over that same period, Capgemini, an SAP services partner, has also delivered many implementations of SAP solutions for oilfield services companies in North America. Capgemini already provides extensive offerings for the midstream, downstream and oilfield services segments, and this acquisition makes Capgemini a leading end-to-end solution provider.

Time is money in the oil and gas industry, and outdated and disjointed systems can slow growth by tying up capital funds and prolonging implementations of an ERP system. With the proper accounting system as a backbone, the IT and financial staff can ensure that they’ll be able to scale up to the current market expansion and unlock the true potential of the business.

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