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Whether you’re new to oil and gas accounting, a seasoned pro, or an employer of petroleum accountants, COPAS has resources to help you grow, challenge and achieve. From meetings to build your network to CPE to keep you current, COPAS is where education and opportunity meet!

General Questions

May I use the COPAS Accounting Procedure (or other document) in my paper/presentation? 

Our forms and publications are copyrighted, and constitute a significant part of the funding to operate our organization. As such, we generally do not allow people to reproduce and distribute them.

You may quote brief excerpts, so long as you acknowledge the source. However, for longer or extensive excerpts or to reproduce an entire form, you must obtain written approval from the executive director. If the form is an essential part of the presentation/paper, we may be able to work out a solution that allows the content to be conveyed in a manner that will not encourage people to violate the copyright. We also recommend you explain to your audience that the forms/documents are copyrighted and provide information on how they can be purchased.

Would COPAS be interested appearing as an amicus curiae party at our hearing or filing an amicus brief on our behalf on a lawsuit? 

Historically, COPAS has not gotten involved in private disputes between companies. That is not the purpose of our organization. Also, our membership consists of both operators and non-operators, buyers and sellers, and entities of all sizes, so we do not specifically advocate for any one position. Finally, there is a practical aspect to this – i.e., we are a non-profit organization with limited resources. We would have to hire an attorney to prepare and file an amicus brief, and that is not an approved budget item. If a company were to fund this for COPAS, it might call into question the impartiality of the brief.

I need advice on how to handle a matter. 

COPAS is a volunteer organization and does not have a staff of experts available to provide professional advice. The advice and official positions of COPAS are published in our Model Forms, Model Form Interpretations, Accounting Guidelines, and Training & Reference materials. If you are still in need of expert advice, refer to the Commercial Links section of the COPAS website, or advertisements in ACCOUNTS. Educational opportunities and networking with industry experts are some of the benefits of being a member of COPAS. COPAS members can contact other members having the expertise they are seeking, and non-members are encouraged to apply and participate. Refer to our membership/society page.

Can I purchase a 1984 or 1986 COPAS model form accounting procedure? 

Whenever COPAS has issued a new model form, it has discontinued selling the form that was being replaced. This is a long-standing practice. In this case, the 2005 model form replaced the 1984 & 1986 forms.

We recognize that it may take a while for companies to adopt the 2005 and some may prefer to continue using the 1984/1986 forms for a while longer. But continuing to sell the old forms being replaced provides less incentive for companies to adopt the new form. Moreover, COPAS members who are active and knowledgeable in joint interest and audit issues generally prefer the 2005 form.

COPAS offers MFI-51, “2005 Accounting Procedure,” as a resource for those interested in learning more about the form. Also, COPAS members periodically make presentations in various industry forums and have written articles for a number of industry publications on key features of the form.

APA® Program Questions

What is the Accredited Petroleum Accountant® certification program (APA®) and where can I find out more information about this program? 

Please see the APA® Program header/section of this website by clicking here. This section describes the program objectives, eligibility, the certification process, the curriculum, the study materials, costs, examination dates, fees and schedules. If you have any additional questions, please contact APA® Administrator at

Where is the APA® Certification Candidate Handbook? 

Click the link below to open the APA® handbook PDF in a new window.

APA® Accreditation Information

Where do I find the APA® Annual Registration & Assessment Forms? 

Click here for the Annual Registration & Assessment forms.

COPAS ePublications

I’ve purchased an ePublication product. Why do I need to pay an annual fee? Don’t I own the publications when I take the initial subscription?

When subscribing to the ePublication product, individuals and companies are effectively leasing the publications for usage. It’s not an outright purchase of all publications. This works much like any other software licensing agreement. Licenses expire if not renewed.

What publications are included in the ePublication product?

The COPAS ePublication product contains all active Accounting Guidelines (AGs), Model Form Interpretations (MFIs), Model Form Modifications (MFMs), and Training and Reference Documents. The product does not contain the Model Form Accounting Procedures (Accounting Procedures). (Model Form Accounting Procedures are electronically available through COPAS-approved vendors. COPAS sells watermarked paper copies on the website.)

The documents in the ePublication product are all keyword search enabled. Enter a keyword and see each document reference where that keyword appears.

Is there a limit of how I can use these publications for my daily work?

The material contained in the ePublication product is protected by Copyright and subject to Copyright laws. The publications included in the ePublication product is important to the daily work that you complete. Registered users may quote, with attribution, selections from within the publications, but no publication is to be copied or printed substantially in its entirety and provided for use by non-registered users.

I’ve paid for my annual subscription, when will I receive my product?

Payment can be made by check or credit card. Once the invoice is paid, subscribers will receive immediate access by logging into their member dashboard. If you have questions or encounter problems, please contact the COPAS office.

Can I share my individual subscription with co-workers?

No. The product is licensed to a single user. Your co-worker can occasionally ask for you to research a topic for them. If requests occur more than occasionally, the co-worker should purchase their own subscription.

I purchased as a site license. Is there a limit to the number of users?

ePublication site licenses are unlimited use. The license covers company employees, but not company consultants. Site license holders may access the publications from their member dashboard (each subscriber will receive an individual login to access their dashboard).

When do I need to let the COPAS office know I don’t want to renew my subscription?

You must inform the COPAS office by December 1 of each year if subscriptions will not be renewed.

What if my subscription lapses?

Once a subscription lapses, subscribers lose the benefit of annual renewal pricing. A new subscription must be started, at the price in effect at the time the subscription is restarted.

What if I purchase a publication from the COPAS website, separate from the ePublication subscription?

Directly purchased products from the COPAS website are not part of the ePublication product and are owned by the person or company making that direct purchase. Direct product purchases are priced individually and purchased one time. Products purchased directly and separately may be kept in individual or company libraries. A direct product purchase does not waive the Copyright laws. Usage of this material must still comply with the COPAS materials usage policy.

What happens when new publications are approved by the Council?

The Council meets in semi-annually, in April and September or October of each year. There is not a set pattern as to when COPAS publications are released. Publication development goes through a rigorous process, ending with a vote by the Council at one of the semi-annual meeting dates. Once the Council approves the publication, it goes through a technical writing process. Shortly thereafter the document is made available to all subscribers and the general public.

New publications or updates will be added to ePublications and can be accessed via the member dashboard. Once again, subscribers do not own the publication, but rather are licensed to use the publication.

What should I do if I find COPAS Copyrighted material for download in the public domain (internet)?

COPAS will never publish Copyrighted material in the public domain. COPAS would appreciate notice when you find such material in the public domain as it’s a violation of the Copyright laws. Please email, or call (303) 300-1131 with the information. COPAS will take it from there.

COPAS aggressively pursues any intellectual property violation and have successfully litigated every known violation.

Economic Factors and Accounting Procedures

Does COPAS publish OH rates based upon the depth of the wells contracted to drill? 

Commencing with the 1974 Accounting Procedure, COPAS revised its model forms to eliminate an overhead rate structure that is based on well depth. For producing wells, a shallow well incurs the same amount of overhead as a deep well. They generally require the same amount of accounting, regulatory reporting, and other overhead services. The Operator might incur more overhead costs for drilling or conducting downhole operations on a deep well. Because the drilling rate is prorated based on drilling days, a deep well will recover more overhead dollars, even though it has the same rate as a shallow well.

These concepts and others are discussed in COPAS Accounting Guideline (AG) 23, “Overhead Negotiation and Calculation.” AG-23 also describes methods an Operator may use to calculate its theoretical break-even cost for providing overhead services. Another resource is COPAS Model Form Interpretation (MFI) 21, “Overhead – Joint Operations.”

If you or anyone in your organization would like more information on our Model Form Accounting Procedures, Model Form Interpretations, or Accounting Guidelines, please do not hesitate to contact us.

What OH rates should I use? Where can I get OH rates? 

COPAS does not publish overhead rates. In addition, COPAS does not endorse the use of “benchmark” rates for overhead.

The overhead fees are to compensate the Operator for the cost of providing overhead functions. In theory, the parties start from a “neutral” point, i.e., the Operator should neither gain nor lose money on the overhead fees. However, during the course of the negotiation, the parties may decide to increase or decrease the overhead fees in exchange for other commercial terms. Also, one Operator’s practice may be to charge the joint account for something that another Operator includes in its overhead services – e.g., technical labor. All other things being equal, the former Operator should have lower overhead rates than the latter.


Networking is so important. It will help with your job and career, and you will gain knowledge you can’t get sitting at a desk. The people in COPAS have mentored me, answered questions for me, and genuinely cared about me and my family.

Melissa Gruenewald
Rating: 5

COPAS has great learning opportunities, leadership opportunities, and ways to develop relationships with other accountants and oil and gas professionals. You will work hard when you get involved, but the experiences, people and benefits will be worth it.

Melissa Gruenewald
Rating: 5

For anyone searching for energy knowledge, professional industry contacts, peers with whom to discuss similar dilemmas, and access to energy experts—COPAS is the place to be!

Carolyn Sczepanski
Rating: 5
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COPAS provides expertise for the oil and gas industry through the development of Model Form Accounting Procedures, publications, and education. We are a forum for the active exchange of ideas which result in innovative business and accounting solutions.


P.O. Box 21272
Wichita, KS 67208
Tel: 303-300-1131

Contact Us →



COPAS provides expertise for the oil and gas industry through the development of Model Form Accounting Procedures, publications, and education. We are a forum for the active exchange of ideas which result in innovative business and accounting solutions.


P.O. Box 21272
Wichita, KS 67208
Tel: 303-300-1131

Contact Us →


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