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20 Months, 90 Bankruptcies In North-American Oil & Gas

Gas Pipeline

A report published earlier this month by Haynes and Boone found that ninety gas and oil producers in the United States (US) and Canada have filed for bankruptcy from 3 January, 2015 to 1 August, 2016.

Approximately US$66.5 billion in aggregate debt has been declared in dozens of bankruptcy cases including Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 15, based on the analysis from the international corporate law firm.

Texas leads the number of bankruptcy filings with 44 during the time period measured by Haynes and Boone, and also has the largest number of debt declared in courts with around US$29.5 billion.

Forty-two energy companies filed bankruptcy in 2015 and declared approximately US$17.85 billion in defaulted debt. The costliest bankruptcy filing last year occurred in September when Samson Resources filed for Chapter 11 protection with an accumulated debt of roughly US$4.2 billion.

The study noted an acceleration in bankruptcy filings in 2016 with forty-eight filings in the first seven months alone including at least twelve cases with defaulted debts of at least US$1.2 billion. Oklahoma-based SandRidge Energy reported a US$8.2 billion deficit for during a one-week span in May where seven firms declared bankruptcy on debts of at least US$26.7 billion.

In June and July, nine companies filed for bankruptcy with roughly US$6.7 billion worth of debt, as the Haynes and Boone study shows.

The main factors behind the rise in bankruptcies is the fall in the price of oil, hurting companies that over expanded with cheap debt. Haynes and Boone researchers expect the number to bankruptcies to keep increasing in the months ahead due to the low price of oil.

The bankruptcy bug isn’t only affecting North American energy firms. A Deloitte study published in February concluded that a “third of the world’s publicly-traded oil companies are at high risk of going bankrupt this year.”

By Erwin Cifuentes for Oilprice.com

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