Note 5 Contingencies, Environmental and Other
The Companys operations and earnings may be affected by various forms of governmental action in the United States. Examples of such governmental action include, but are by no means limited to: tax increases and retroactive tax claims; royalty and revenue sharing increases; import and export controls; price controls; currency controls; allocation of supplies of crude oil and petroleum products and other goods; expropriation of property; restrictions and preferences affecting the issuance of oil and gas or mineral leases; restrictions on drilling and/or production; laws and regulations intended for the promotion of safety and the protection and/or remediation of the environment; governmental support for other forms of energy; and laws and regulations affecting the Companys relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, stockholders and others. Because governmental actions are often motivated by political considerations and may be taken without full consideration of their consequences, and may be taken in response to actions of other governments, it is not practical to attempt to predict the likelihood of such actions, the form the actions may take or the effect such actions may have on the Company.
Companies in the oil and gas industry are subject to numerous federal, state, local and regulations dealing with the environment. Violation of federal or state environmental laws, regulations and permits can result in the imposition of significant civil and criminal penalties, injunctions and construction bans or delays. A discharge of hazardous substances into the environment could, to the extent such event is not insured, subject the Company to substantial expense, including both the cost to comply with applicable regulations and claims by neighboring landowners and other third parties for any personal injury and property damage that might result.
The Company currently leases properties at which hazardous substances could have been or are being handled. In addition, many of these properties have been operated by third parties whose treatment and disposal or release of hydrocarbons or other wastes were not under the Companys control. Under existing laws the Company could be required to remove or remediate previously disposed wastes (including wastes disposed of or released by prior owners or operators), to clean up contaminated property (including contaminated groundwater) or to perform remedial plugging operations to prevent future contamination. The Company is investigating the extent of any such liability and the availability of applicable defenses and believes costs related to these sites will not have a material adverse affect on the Companys net income, financial condition or liquidity in a future period.
The Companys liability for remedial obligations includes certain amounts that are based on anticipated regulatory approval for proposed remediation of former refinery waste sites. Although regulatory authorities may require more costly alternatives than the proposed processes, the cost of such potential alternative processes is not expected to be a material amount. Certain environmental expenditures are likely to be recovered by the Company from other sources, primarily environmental funds maintained by certain states. Since no assurance can be given that future recoveries from other sources will occur, the Company has not recorded a benefit for likely recoveries.
There is the possibility that environmental expenditures could be required at currently unidentified sites, and new or revised regulations could require additional expenditures at known sites. However, based on information currently available to the Company, the amount of future remediation costs incurred at known or currently unidentified sites is not expected to have a material adverse effect on the Companys future net income, cash flows or liquidity. The Company has recorded $33,700 and $32,830 for its estimated asset retirement obligation as of October 31, 2011 and 2010, respectively.