Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Significant Accounting Policies

Significant Accounting Policies
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2012
Significant Accounting Policies

1. Significant Accounting Policies


W&T Offshore, Inc. and subsidiaries, referred to herein as “W&T” or the “Company,” is an independent oil and natural gas producer focused primarily in the Gulf of Mexico and, more recently, onshore Texas. The Company is active in the exploration, development and acquisition of oil and natural gas properties.

Basis of Presentation

Our consolidated financial statements include the accounts of W&T Offshore, Inc. and its majority owned subsidiaries. All significant intercompany transactions and amounts have been eliminated for all years presented.


Certain reclassifications have been made to prior periods’ financial statements to conform to the current presentation. Insurance receivables as of December 31, 2011 of $0.7 million were combined with Joint interest and other receivables on the Consolidated Balance Sheets.

Use of Estimates

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (“GAAP”) requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements, the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting periods and the reported amounts of proved oil and natural gas reserves. Actual results could differ from those estimates.

Fiscal Year

Our fiscal year ends on December 31.

Cash Equivalents

We consider all highly liquid investments purchased with original or remaining maturities of three months or less at the date of purchase to be cash equivalents.

Revenue Recognition

We recognize oil and natural gas revenues based on the quantities of our production sold to purchasers under short-term contracts (less than 12 months) at market prices when delivery has occurred, title has transferred and collectability is reasonably assured. We use the sales method of accounting for oil and natural gas revenues from properties with joint ownership. Under this method, we record oil and natural gas revenues based upon physical deliveries to our customers, which can be different from our net revenue ownership interest in field production. These differences create imbalances that we recognize as a liability only when the estimated remaining recoverable reserves of a property will not be sufficient to enable the under-produced party to recoup its entitled share through production. We do not record receivables for those properties in which the Company has taken less than its ownership share of production. At December 31, 2012 and 2011, $6.0 million and $6.5 million, respectively, were included in current liabilities related to natural gas imbalances.


Concentration of Credit Risk

Our customers are primarily large integrated oil and natural gas companies and large financial institutions. Our production is sold utilizing month-to-month contracts that are based on bid prices. We also have receivables from joint interest owners on properties we operate and we may have the ability to withhold future revenue disbursements to recover amounts due us. We attempt to minimize our credit risk exposure to purchasers of our oil and natural gas, joint interest owners, derivative counterparties and other third-party entities through formal credit policies, monitoring procedures, and letters of credit or guaranties when considered necessary. We historically have not had any significant problems collecting our receivables except in rare circumstances. Accordingly, we do not maintain an allowance for doubtful accounts.

The following identifies customers from whom we derived 10% or more of receipts from sales of oil, NGLs and natural gas.


     Year Ended December 31,  
   2012     2011     2010  



Shell Trading (US) Co.

     35     36     40

ConocoPhillips (1)

     16     16     17

J.P. Morgan Ventures Energy Corp.

     *     10     *


** less than 10%
(1) ConocoPhillips split into two separate companies during 2012 and individually were approximately 8% each.

We believe that the loss of any of the customers above would not result in a material adverse effect on our ability to market future oil and natural gas production as replacement customers could be obtained in a relatively short period of time on terms, conditions and pricing substantially similar to those currently existing.

Insurance receivables

We recognize insurance receivables with respect to capital, repair and plugging and abandonment costs as a result of hurricane damage when we deem those to be probable of collection, which arises when our insurance underwriters’ adjuster reviews and approves such costs for payment by the underwriters. Claims that have been processed in this manner have customarily been paid on a timely basis.

Properties and Equipment

We use the full-cost method of accounting for oil and natural gas properties and equipment. Under this method, all costs associated with the acquisition, exploration, development and abandonment of oil and natural gas properties are capitalized. Acquisition costs include costs incurred to purchase, lease or otherwise acquire property. Exploration costs include costs of drilling exploratory wells and external geological and geophysical costs, which mainly consist of seismic costs. Development costs include the cost of drilling development wells and costs of completions, platforms, facilities and pipelines. Costs associated with production, certain geological and geophysical costs and general and administrative costs are expensed in the period incurred.

Oil and natural gas properties and equipment include costs of unproved properties. The cost of unproved properties related to significant acquisitions are excluded from the amortization base until it is determined that proved reserves can be assigned to such properties or until such time as the Company has made an evaluation that impairment has occurred. The costs of drilling exploratory dry holes are included in the amortization base immediately upon determination that such wells are non-commercial.


We capitalize interest on expenditures made in connection with the exploration and development of unproved properties that are excluded from the amortization base. Interest is capitalized only for the period that exploration and development activities are in progress and all capitalized interest is recorded within Oil and natural gas property and equipment on the Consolidated Balance Sheet.

Oil and natural gas properties included in the amortization base are amortized using the units-of-production method based on production and estimates of proved reserve quantities. In addition to costs associated with evaluated properties and capitalized asset retirement obligations (“ARO”), the amortization base includes estimated future development costs to be incurred in developing proved reserves as well as estimated plugging and abandonment costs, net of salvage value, related to developing proved reserves. These additional costs related to developing proved reserves are not recorded as liabilities on the balance sheet.

Sales of proved and unproved oil and natural gas properties, whether or not being amortized currently, are accounted for as adjustments of capitalized costs with no gain or loss recognized unless such adjustments would significantly alter the relationship between capitalized costs and proved reserves of oil and natural gas.

Under the full cost method of accounting, we are required to periodically perform a “ceiling test,” which determines a limit on the book value of our oil and natural gas properties. If the net capitalized cost of oil and natural gas properties (including capitalized ARO), net of related deferred income taxes, exceeds the present value of estimated future net revenues from proved reserves discounted at 10%, plus the cost of unproved oil and natural gas properties not being amortized, plus the lower of cost or estimated fair value of unproved oil and natural gas properties included in the amortization base, net of related tax effects, the excess is charged to expense and reflected as additional accumulated depreciation, depletion and amortization. Any such write downs are not recoverable or reversible in future periods. Estimated future net revenues used in the ceiling test as of December 31, 2012, 2011 and 2010 are based on the unweighted average of first-day-of-the-month commodity prices over the period January through December for that year and exclude future cash outflows related to capitalized ARO and include future development costs and ARO related to wells to be drilled.

Declines in oil and natural gas prices after December 31, 2012 may require us to record additional ceiling-test impairments in the future. We did not have any write-downs related to ceiling-test impairments during 2012, 2011 and 2010, respectively.

Furniture, fixtures and non-oil and natural gas property and equipment are depreciated using the straight-line method based on the estimated useful lives of the respective assets, generally ranging from five to seven years. Leasehold improvements are amortized over the shorter of their economic lives or the lease term. Repairs and maintenance costs are expensed in the period incurred.

Asset Retirement Obligations

Pursuant to the Asset Retirement and Environmental Obligations topic of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) Accounting Standards Codification (the “Codification”), we are required to record a separate liability for the present value of our ARO, with an offsetting increase to the related oil and natural gas properties on our balance sheet. We have significant obligations to plug and abandon well bores, remove our platforms, pipelines, facilities and equipment and restore the land or seabed at the end of oil and natural gas production operations. These obligations are primarily associated with plugging and abandoning wells, removing pipelines, removing and disposing of offshore platforms and site cleanup. Estimating the future restoration and removal cost is difficult and requires us to make estimates and judgments because the removal obligations may be many years in the future and contracts and regulations often have vague descriptions of what constitutes removal. Asset removal technologies and costs are constantly changing, as are regulatory, political, environmental, safety and public relations considerations, which can substantially affect our estimates of these future costs from period to period. For additional information, refer to Note 5.

Oil and Natural Gas Reserve Information

Pursuant to Extractive Activities – Oil and Gas topic of the Codification, we use the unweighted average of first-day-of-the-month commodity prices over the preceding 12-month period when estimating quantities of proved reserves. Similarly, the prices used to calculate the standardized measure of discounted future cash flows and prices used in the ceiling test for impairment are the 12-month average commodity prices. Another provision of the guidance is a general requirement that, subject to limited exceptions, proved undeveloped reserves may only be classified as such if a development plan has been adopted indicating that they are scheduled to be drilled within five years. Refer to Note 21 for additional information about our proved reserves.

Derivative Financial Instruments

Our market risk exposure relates primarily to commodity prices and interest rates. From time to time, we use various derivative instruments to manage our exposure to commodity price risk from sales of oil and natural gas and interest rate risk from floating interest rates on our credit facility. Our derivative instruments currently consist of commodity swap and option contracts for oil. We do not enter into derivative instruments for speculative trading purposes.

We account for derivative contracts in accordance with the Derivatives and Hedging topic of the Codification, which requires each derivative to be recorded on the balance sheet as an asset or a liability at its fair value. Changes in a derivative’s fair value are required to be recognized currently in earnings unless specific hedge accounting and documentation criteria are met at the time the derivative contract is entered into. We have elected not to designate our commodity derivatives as hedging instruments, therefore all changes in fair value are recognized in earnings.

Fair Value of Financial Instruments

We include fair value information in the notes to our consolidated financial statements when the fair value of our financial instruments is different from the book value or it is required by applicable guidance. We believe that the book value of our cash and cash equivalents, receivables, accounts payable and accrued liabilities materially approximates fair value due to the short-term nature and the terms of these instruments. We believe that the book value of our restricted deposits approximates fair value as deposits are in cash or short-term investments. We believe the carrying amount of debt under our revolving bank credit facility approximates fair value because the interest rates are variable and reflective of market rates.

Fair Value of Acquisitions

Acquisitions are recorded on the closing date of the transaction at their fair value, which was determined by applying the market and income approaches using Level 3 inputs. The Level 3 inputs were: (i) analysis of comparable transactions obtained from various third-parties, (ii) estimates of ultimate recoveries of reserves, and (iii) estimates of discounted cash flows based on estimated reserve quantities, reserve categories, timing of production, costs to produce and develop reserves, future prices, ARO and discount rates. The estimates and assumptions were determined by management and third-parties. The fair value is based on subjective estimates and assumptions, which are inherently imprecise, and the actual realized values could vary significantly from these estimates. No goodwill was recorded for the acquisitions completed in 2012, 2011 or 2010.


Income Taxes

We use the liability method of accounting for income taxes in accordance with the Income Taxes topic of the Codification. Under this method, deferred tax assets and liabilities are determined by applying tax rates in effect at the end of a reporting period to the cumulative temporary differences between the tax bases of assets and liabilities and their reported amounts in the financial statements. In assessing the need for a valuation allowance on our deferred tax assets, we consider whether it is more likely than not that some portion or all of them will not be realized. We recognize uncertain tax positions in our financial statements when it is more likely than not that we will sustain the benefit taken or expected to be taken. When applicable, we recognize interest and penalties related to uncertain tax positions in income tax expense.

Debt Issuance Costs

Debt issuance costs associated with our revolving loan facility are amortized using the straight-line method over the scheduled maturity of the debt. Debt issuance costs associated with all other debt are deferred and amortized over the scheduled maturity of the debt utilizing the effective interest method.

Premiums Received on Debt Issuance

Premiums are recorded in long-term liabilities and are amortized over the term of the related debt using the effective interest method.

Share-Based Compensation

In accordance with the Compensation – Stock Compensation topic of the Codification, compensation cost for share-based payments to employees and non-employee directors is based on the fair value of the equity instrument on the date of grant and is recognized over the period during which the recipient is required to provide service in exchange for the award. The fair value for equity instruments subject to only time or to Company performance measures was determined using the closing price of the Company’s share at the date of grant. The fair value of equity instruments subject to market-based performance measurements was determined using a Monte Carlo simulation probabilistic model. We recognize share-based compensation expense on a straight line basis over the period during which the recipient is required to provide service in exchange for the award. Estimates are made for forfeitures during the vesting period, resulting in the recognition of compensation cost only for those awards that are estimated to vest and estimated forfeitures are adjusted to actual forfeitures when the equity instrument vests. See Note 11 for more information.

Earnings Per Share

In accordance with the Earnings Per Share topic of the Codification, unvested share-based payment awards that contain nonforfeitable rights to dividends or dividend equivalents (whether paid or unpaid) are participating securities and are included in the computation of earnings per share under the two-class method. For additional information, refer to Note 14.

Recent Accounting Developments

In December 2010, the FASB issued certain amendments to the Business Combinations topic of the Codification. The amendments specify that if a public entity presents comparative financial statements, the entity should disclose revenue and earnings of the combined entity as though the business combination that occurred during the current year had occurred as of the beginning of the comparable prior annual period. In addition, the supplemental pro forma disclosures related to pro forma adjustments were expanded. The amendments were effective for our fiscal year ended December 31, 2011. Early adoption was permitted and we elected to apply the amendments for the year 2010. These amendments only change disclosure requirements and not accounting practices; therefore, the adoption of these amendments did not have any impact on our financial position, results of operations or cash flows.