IFRS 15 and the Oil and Gas Industry: Revenue Recognition Implications

IFRS 15 and the Oil and Gas Industry: Revenue Recognition Implications

Posted In | Finance | Accounting Software | Revenue Recognition

The introduction of International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) 15, "Revenue from Contracts with Customers," represents a significant change to revenue recognition. For the oil and gas industry, characterized by long-term contracts, complex pricing mechanisms, and unique arrangements, the new standard raises specific considerations. This article explores the implications of IFRS 15 for the oil and gas industry and provides guidance for managing these changes.


1. IFRS 15 and Oil and Gas Industry

IFRS 15 outlines a five-step model for revenue recognition: identifying the contract, identifying performance obligations, determining the transaction price, allocating the transaction price to performance obligations, and recognizing revenue when (or as) performance obligations are satisfied.

In the context of the oil and gas industry, this may involve:

  1. Identifying the Contract: Oil and gas contracts may include exploration and production contracts, sales contracts, or service contracts.

  2. Identifying Performance Obligations: These might include delivering oil or gas, conducting exploration or production activities, or providing related services.

  3. Determining the Transaction Price: This could involve the agreed price per barrel or MMBtu, potentially adjusted based on market indices or other pricing mechanisms.

  4. Allocating the Transaction Price: The transaction price must be allocated to each separate performance obligation based on their relative standalone selling prices.

  5. Recognizing Revenue: Revenue is recognized as each performance obligation is satisfied, which could be at a point in time (such as the delivery of oil or gas) or over time (such as the performance of exploration or production services).

2. Challenges and Implications for Oil and Gas Industry

  1. Complex Pricing Mechanisms: Oil and gas contracts often include variable pricing based on market indices, requiring careful estimation and potentially constraining revenue recognition under IFRS 15.

  2. Long-Term Contracts: Many oil and gas contracts cover multiple years, raising issues around the timing of revenue recognition, particularly when contracts include performance obligations to be fulfilled over time.

  3. Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs): In PSCs, oil and gas companies might be deemed to be acting as an agent or a principal, affecting the amount of revenue to be recognized.

  4. Contract Modifications: The industry often sees changes in contract terms, requiring continuous reassessment of contracts and potentially altering the timing and amount of revenue recognition.

3. Best Practices

  1. Understanding the Contracts: Thoroughly understanding contracts is key to identifying performance obligations and determining the transaction price correctly.

  2. Establishing Allocation Methods: Given the complexity of contracts, companies must develop systematic methods for allocating the transaction price to performance obligations.

  3. Implementing Robust Systems: Companies need to put in place robust systems that can handle changes in contracts, track the fulfillment of performance obligations, and ensure compliance with IFRS 15's disclosure requirements.

  4. Seeking Expert Advice: Given the complexity of the oil and gas industry and IFRS 15, consulting with financial reporting and accounting experts can be invaluable.


While IFRS 15 brings its fair share of challenges to the oil and gas industry, it also presents an opportunity to enhance transparency in financial reporting. By understanding the standard's implications and adopting best practices, oil and gas companies can navigate the complexities of IFRS 15, ensuring their revenue recognition practices align with global standards, and ultimately, building investor confidence.