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Oil & Gas Industry Watches for Warning Signs As New Bankruptcy Filings Level Off

January 10, 2019, 09:00 AM
Filed Under: Energy

Haynes and Boone released its latest Energy Bankruptcy Reports, which include bankruptcy filings from the beginning of 2015 through the end of 2018. The firm tracks bankruptcy filings in three databases that it updates periodically: the Oil Patch Bankruptcy Monitor, which tracks filings by oil and gas producers; the Oilfield Services Bankruptcy Tracker, which covers filings by oilfield services companies; and the Midstream Report, covering midstream companies.

The reports highlight the continuing leveling off of filings compared to the initial wave of bankruptcies that swept over the industry in 2015 and 2016. But with the slump in commodity prices persisting, the firm is closely following industry developments of significance for industry participants, including borrowers, lenders, private equity firms and investment funds, and others.

“Optimists can point to many positive data points to argue that the bulk of E&P bankruptcies are behind us – many companies have restructured their debt, reduced leverage, enforced greater capital discipline to live within cash flow, and from a timing standpoint, have been able to revise 2019 drilling budgets to factor in a lower price expectation, thereby reducing total number of expected wells to be drilled to conserve cash,” said Haynes and Boone Energy Practice Co-Chair Buddy Clark.

Still, “pessimists have their own set of alternate facts that would augur an opposite trend for the industry,” said Haynes and Boone Partner Charles A. Beckham Jr. “Wellhead prices for natural gas remain anemic with little expectation for near term increases on a seasonally adjusted basis.” 

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