Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Significant Accounting Policies

Significant Accounting Policies
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2014
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Significant Accounting Policies


1. Significant Accounting Policies


W&T Offshore, Inc. and subsidiaries, referred to herein as “W&T,” “we,”, “us,” “our,” or the “Company”, is an independent oil and natural gas producer focused primarily in the Gulf of Mexico and onshore Texas.  The Company is active in the exploration, development and acquisition of oil and natural gas properties.  Our interest in fields, leases, structures and equipment are primarily owned by the parent company, W&T Offshore, Inc. (on a stand-alone basis, the “Parent Company”) and our wholly-own subsidiary, W & T Energy VI, LLC (“Energy VI”).  

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 as follows:   Income tax – receivables was combined with Joint interest and other – receivables on the Consolidated Balance Sheets.  Loss on extinguishment of debt was combined with Other income, net on the Consolidated Statements of Operations.  Insurance proceeds was combined with the changes in Joint interest and other receivables and changes in Other – operating assets and liabilities was combined with the changes in Accounts payable, accrued liabilities and other on the Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows.

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.

Recent Events

The price we receive for our oil, natural gas liquids (“NGLs”) and natural gas production directly affects our revenues, profitability, cash flows, liquidity, access to capital and future rate of growth.  The prices of these commodities began falling in June 2014 and were significantly lower in January and February of 2015 compared to the last few years.  

We have taken several steps to mitigate the effects of these lower prices including: (i) significantly reducing the 2015 capital budget from the previous year; (ii) suspending our drilling and completion activities at several locations; (iii) suspending the regular quarterly common stock dividend and (iv) implementing numerous cost reduction projects to reduce our operating costs.  

Assuming continuing oil and gas prices are near levels realized in December 2014 and January 2015, we likely will be out of compliance with certain of our financial ratio maintenance covenants under our Credit Agreement sometime during 2015.  We intend to engage the lenders under the Credit Agreement in discussions regarding amending our financial ratio covenants at such time as our borrowing base is redetermined in April 2015, but we can provide no assurance that we will be successful in obtaining such an amendment.  While we believe we will obtain the appropriate covenant relief, if we are unable to obtain such an amendment from our lenders, we believe that we can find alternative financing, and we may have to reduce our cash outlays further for capital expenditures and other activities until such time as market conditions recover.  

We have assessed our financial condition, the current capital markets and options given different scenarios of commodity prices and believe we will have adequate liquidity to fund our operations through December 31, 2015; however, we cannot predict how an extended period of low commodity prices will affect our operations and liquidity levels.



Adjustment Related to Additional Volumes

In January 2014, we identified that we had been receiving an erroneous million British thermal unit (“MMBtu”) conversion factor from a third party that had the effect of understating natural gas production at our Viosca Knoll 783 field (Tahoe).  The incorrect conversion factor had been used on all natural gas production from the field since we acquired it in 2011.  The effect of using this incorrect conversion factor did not affect revenues, operating cash flows or royalty payments to the federal government but did impact reported natural gas production and the calculation of depletion expense.  We performed an analysis of the information, assessing both quantitative and qualitative factors, and determined that the impact on our net income reported for prior annual periods, as well as the impact to our earnings trend, was not material to 2011 and 2012 results, thus the adjustment was recognized in 2013.  The 2013 period reflects a one-time increase in natural gas production volumes of 1.9 billion cubic feet (“Bcf”) (with no corresponding increase in revenue) for the annual periods of 2011 and 2012, which increased depreciation, depletion, amortization and accretion (“DD&A”) by $5.0 million and decreased net income by $3.2 million.  

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 both December 31, 2014 and 2013, $6.4 million was 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 of any material amounts.

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,























Shell Trading (US) Co.












ConocoPhillips (1)












less than 10%


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.  See Note 18 for information related to unpaid claims by certain underwriters.

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 properties.  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 the amount 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.  Capitalization of interest ceases when the property is moved into the amortization base.  All capitalized interest is recorded within Oil and natural gas property and equipment on the Consolidated Balance Sheets.

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.  Future development costs related to proved reserves are not recorded as liabilities on the balance sheet, but are part of the calculation of depletion expense.

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 ceiling test limit, the excess is charged to expense on a pre-tax basis and separately disclosed.  Any such write downs are not recoverable or reversible in future periods.  The ceiling test limit is comprised of: (i) the present value of estimated future net revenues from proved reserves, less estimated future development costs, discounted at 10%; (ii) plus the cost of unproved oil and natural gas properties not being amortized; (iii) plus the lower of cost or estimated fair value of unproved oil and natural gas properties included in the amortization base; and (iv) less related tax effects.  Estimated future net revenues used in the ceiling test for each year are based on the unweighted average of first-day-of-the-month commodity prices over the period January through December for that year.  All prices are adjusted by field for quality, transportation fees, energy content and regional price differentials.

Declines in the unweighted rolling average of first-day-of-the-month commodity prices in oil and natural gas prices after December 31, 2014 may require us to record ceiling-test impairments in the future.  We did not have any write-downs related to ceiling-test impairments during 2014, 2013 and 2012, 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 GAAP, 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 GAAP, 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 contracts for oil.  We do not enter into derivative instruments for speculative trading purposes.

In accordance with GAAP, a derivative is 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 is determined by applying the market and income approaches using Level 3 inputs.  The Level 3 inputs are: (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 are 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 can vary significantly from estimates that are made.  No goodwill was recorded for the acquisitions completed in 2014, 2013 or 2012.

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 GAAP, 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 common stock 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 GAAP, 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.

Other Income, Net

For 2013, the amount reported consisted primarily of $9.2 million received in conjunction with a payment for an option exercised by a counterparty.  Partially offsetting the proceeds were related third-party expenses of $0.1 million.  The net amount was included in net cash flows from investing activities within the line, Proceeds from sales of assets and other, net in the consolidated statements of cash flows.

Recent Accounting Developments

In May 2014, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued Accounting Standards Update No. 2014-09 (“ASU 2014-09”), Summary and Amendments That Create Revenue from Contracts and Customers (Topic 606).  ASU 2014-09 amends and replaces current revenue recognition requirements, including most industry-specific guidance.  The revised guidance establishes a five step approach to be utilized in determining when, and if, revenue should be recognized.  ASU 2014-09 is effective for annual and interim periods beginning after December 15, 2016.  Upon application, an entity may elect one of two methods, either restatement of prior periods presented or recording a cumulative adjustment in the initial period of application.  We have not determined the effect ASU 2014-09 will have on the recognition of our revenue, if any, nor have we determined the method we will utilize upon adoption, which would be in the first quarter of 2017.

    In August 2014, the FASB issued Accounting Standards Update No. 2014-15 (“ASU 2014-15”), Disclosure of Uncertainties about an Entity’s Ability to Continue as a Going Concern (Subtopic 205-40).  The guidance addresses management’s responsibility to evaluate whether there is substantial doubt about an entity’s ability to continue as a going concern and to provide related footnote disclosures.  ASU 2014-15 is effective for the annual period ending after December 15, 2016, and for annual and interim periods thereafter.  We do not expect the revised guidance to materially affect our evaluation as to being a going concern, or have an effect on our financial statements or related disclosures.