Bankruptcies Expected to Grow Among Oil and Gas Companies

It might be a case of waiting for the other shoe to drop. First oil prices plunged then some 42 firms filed for bankruptcy last year across the country. In Oklahoma, SandRidge Energy is at the top of the list of those speculating or betting on which company might be the next to enter bankruptcy court and filed for chapter 11 or reorganization.

The bankruptcies in 2015 totaled $17.85 billion dollars in debts. One recent report indicated that eleven percent of the Exploration and Production Companies defaulted in December of 2015 on debts coming due. A year earlier, the default rate was 0.5 percent. That’s an obvious indication of what the $30 to $35 oil is doing to the oil and gas industry. The same report indicated even if oil prices rebound, many oil companies won’t be able to survive because they will still be holding large amounts of debt. And the prospects of selling new bonds to retire the bonds coming due won’t be good for them. Furthermore, investment firms aren’t interested in some of those ailing companies until after they file bankruptcy and their stock is close to being worthless.

Among companies that filed for reorganization bankruptcy in 2015 was Tulsa-based American Natural Energy Corp. which listed a total debt of $22,711,450. Samson Resources, also based in Tulsa filed as well, listing $4,331,775,489 in total debt.

American Natural Energy Corporation had an involuntary bankruptcy petition filed against it in August of last year in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Samson Resources Corp. filed last September after a 2011 takeover by KKR and Co. in a $7.2 billion leveraged buyout. It was one of the biggest energy bankruptcies in the U.S. last year but the company said at the time it would use the Chapter 11 process to shrink its $4.2 billion debt load.


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