This excerpt taken from the BP 6-K filed Mar 13, 2006.
Licence and property acquisition costs Exploration and property leasehold acquisition costs are capitalized within intangible fixed assets and amortized on a straight-line basis over the estimated period of exploration. Each property is reviewed on an annual basis to confirm that drilling activity is planned and it is not impaired. If no future activity is planned, the remaining balance of the licence and property acquisition costs is written off. Upon determination of economically recoverable reserves (proved reserves or commercial reserves), amortization ceases and the remaining costs are aggregated with exploration expenditure and held on a field-by-field basis as proved properties awaiting approval within intangible assets. When development is approved internally, the relevant expenditure is transferred to property, plant and equipment.
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BP p.l.c. AND SUBSIDIARIES
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS - continued
Note 1 - Significant accounting policies - continued