What Does Barrels Of Oil Equivalent Per Day Mean?
Barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOE/D) is a term that is used often in conjunction with the production or distribution of crude oil and natural gas. Many oil companies produce both of these commodities, but the unit of measure for each is different. Oil is measured in barrels and natural gas is measured in cubic feet. To help facilitate like-for-like comparisons, the industry standardized natural gas production into “equivalent barrels” of oil. One barrel of oil is generally deemed to have the same amount of energy content as 6,000 cubic feet of natural gas. So this quantity of natural gas is “equivalent” to one barrel of oil.
When measuring a company’s natural gas production output, management often wants to know how many equivalent barrels of oil they are producing. This makes it easier to compare themselves to other industry participants. The Society of Petroleum Engineers provides conversion tables that help illustrate unit equivalencies and some of the factors that affect comparison and conversion.
Understanding Barrels Of Oil Equivalent Per Day (BOE/D)
Large oil producers are evaluated and refer to their production by the number of cubic feet of natural gas, and/or by the barrels of oil equivalent, they produce per day. This is an industry standard and a way that investors can compare the production and/or the reserves of two oil/gas companies.
BOE/D is important to the financial community because it is used as a way to help determine the value of a company. There are several different metrics equity and bond analysts use to evaluate the performance of an oil company. First is a company’s total production, which is calculated on a total equivalent barrel basis. This helps to determine the scale of the business. Companies that produce little oil and a lot of natural gas could be unfairly evaluated if equivalent barrels were not counted.
Another important measure of a company is the size of its reserves. Equivalent barrels play an important role here too because excluding natural gas reserves can unfairly impact the size of a company. When banks are determining the size of a loan to extend, it is important to consider the total size of the company’s reserve base. Converting natural gas reserves to equivalent barrels is an easy to understand like-for-like metric that helps to determine the amount of debt a company has relative to its reserve base. If this isn’t evaluated correctly, a company can be unfairly impacted with higher borrowing costs.
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