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Two More U.S. Oil Company Bankruptcies: That’s Four Since Last Week

Oklahoma-based SandRidge Energy and California-based Breitburn Energy have both filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week, making them the third and fourth independent oil company bankruptcies in two weeks.

Breitburn owns producing and nonproducing crude oil and natural gas assets in the Texas’ Permian basin, the Midcontinent, the Rockies and the Southeast. The company reported debt of US$3.4 billion.

SandRidge has about $7 billion in assets and $4 billion in debt, and focuses on the Niobrara shale where it holds 1.85 million acres in the Mississippian oil play.

Related: Oil Price Spike Is Not As Far Away As Many Think

SandRidge filed for a “pre-arranged reorganization” under Chapter 11. The company has reached a deal with creditors to swap US$3.7 billion in debt for control of the company.

In Breitburn’s case, the company said it would continue to operate, while arrangements with creditors are still in the discussion phase.

Last Thursday, two more independent oil companies filed for bankruptcy.

Oil and gas producer Linn Energy LLC filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy after reaching a deal with lenders to restructure its $8.3 billion debt load and obtain $2.2 billion in fresh financing. The same day, Penn Virginia also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, saying it had reached a prepackaged agreement with holders of 87 percent, or $1.03 billion of its total funded-debt obligations.

Related: Can Big Oil Survive At Today’s Prices?

In just the first four months of 2016 there were double the the number of energy company bankruptcies than in all of 2015. The total secured and unsecured defaults rose to $34 billion, double the $17 billion total for all of 2015. In 2015, 42 oil companies filed for bankruptcy.

In April this year, 27 North American oil and gas companies filed for bankruptcy—11 of them filing under Chapter 11, according to a Haynes and Boone report. Some 69 North American oil and gas producers have filed for various forces of bankruptcy.

By James Burgess of Oilprice.com



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