The Strategist

Ninety oil companies in the US went belly up since 2015

08/09/2016 - 15:17

A report, published by American law firm Haynes and Boone, says that 90 oil and gas companies in the US and Canada have declared themselves bankrupt in the period from 3 January 2015 to 1 August 2016.

Total debt of the companies amounted to about $ 66.5 billion, as calculated by the law firm.

This includes cases where bankruptcy is governed by Chapter 7 of the US Bankruptcy Code (liquidation, the process by which a company, or its part, is brought to an end, and the assets and property of the company are redistributed), Chapter 11 (reorganization, process designed to revive a financially troubled or bankrupt firm; involves the restatement of assets and liabilities, as well as holding talks with creditors in order to make arrangements for maintaining repayments), and Chapter 15.

Companies from Texas are leaders in the number of bankruptcy filings. According to Haynes and Boone’s report 44 local companies declared themselves bankrupt during the period. In addition, debt of the Texas companies is the biggest (about $ 29.5 billion).

In 2015, 42 energy companies filed applications for bankruptcy; their debt was approximately $ 17.85 billion.

The most expensive bankruptcy was announced in September last year, when Samson Resources company filled out an application for bankruptcy under Chapter 11, and its debt amounted to about $ 4.2 billion.

In addition, the report notes that 2016 brought more bankruptcy filings. There were 48 companies applied for bankruptcy in the first seven months of the year, including at least twelve cases where default on debts reached between $ 1.2 billion and above.

Oklahoma company SandRidge Energy defaulted on debts worth $ 8.2 billion in May, and another seven companies have filed for bankruptcy for debt in the amount of at least $ 26.7 billion.

In June and July, nine companies applied for bankruptcy in the amount of approximately $ 6.7 billion.

The main factor for such a sharp rise in bankruptcies among energy companies was the fall in oil prices, which negatively affected the companies, accumulated cheap loans.

Haynes and Boone analysts are predicting a rise in the number of bankruptcies in the coming months, also linked to the low oil prices.

Director of the International Department of the Chinese Petroleum Corporation at CNPC Li Yueqiang is sure that the price of oil will not reach the level of 100 dollars per barrel for 5-10 years.

"I think that the current imbalance between supply and demand is a temporary phenomenon. We expect that during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) or in a longer term, growth in demand for oil and gas is inevitable, as it is in line with market realities ", - he told reporters Lee.

CNPC hopes that by the end of 2016, the price of oil will remain at $ 50 per barrel.

"We believe that this is a rational price ... According to our estimates, price of oil reached $ 100 per barrel is practically impossible in the next 5-10 years", - he added.

According to CNPC’s representative, the satiation is also complicated by development of non-traditional types of energy production.

"As technology advances, non-traditional energy sources, including shale gas, production of which was recently considered unprofitable, now turned into a profitable business. This is another factor that complicates recovery of oil prices." - Li said.