Information on Data Problems Identified by the Department of Energy With Its Final Entitlements Lists

RCED-85-45: Published: Nov 29, 1984. Publicly Released: Nov 29, 1984.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on data problems identified by the Department of Energy (DOE) which led to its decision not to publish final entitlements lists used in equalizing U.S. refiners' crude oil costs.

In November 1983, DOE proposed not publishing the final entitlements lists since it believed that the data supporting the lists were unreliable because: (1) some refiners' suppliers reclassified crude oil from uncontrolled to price-controlled status after the reporting cutoff date; and (2) some refiners' reports showed negative numbers of barrels of crude oil being received. Therefore, DOE believed that, if the lists were published, refiners would receive entitlements benefits that were not appropriate. However, GAO found that DOE had no documentation on the oil reclassifications prior to identifying them as a problem, and while representatives of one firm reported that their company's suppliers had reclassified a substantial amount of crude oil after the cutoff date, they had no information on whether their company's experience was typical. Furthermore, GAO found that the documentation which DOE used to identify the reporting errors which produced the negative crude oil receipts was not adequate, and no evidence was provided that the reporting errors were widespread among refiners. Because DOE decided not to publish the final entitlements lists, DOE plans to take no further action to resolve the data problems.

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