Oil Price Slump Claims Warren Resources

The oil and gas exploration and production company has filed Chapter 11 to implement a restructuring agreement with its creditors.
Matthew HellerJune 3, 2016

Warren Resources has fallen victim to the long decline in oil prices, filing for bankruptcy protection to implement a debt-for-equity swap with its creditors.

The bankruptcy plan calls for lenders led by Blackstone Group’s GSO Capital Partners to swap $248 million they are owed for an 82.5% stake in the reorganized oil and gas exploration and production company.

Second-lien creditors led by Claren Road Asset Management will divide the remaining 17.5% of Warren Resources among themselves in return for canceling another $57 million in debt.

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Warren skipped a $7.5 million interest payment due Feb. 1 on its $167.3 million of 9% senior notes due 2022 and the company defaulted 30 days later. In its Chapter 11 petition, it listed assets of $230 million and debts of $545 million, as of Jan. 31.

“The proposed restructuring will allow the company to emerge from bankruptcy in a healthier financial position, able to service its debts and fund its operations going forward,” CEO James A Watt said.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, more than 80 energy companies have gone bankrupt since last year. In May alone, five oil and gas companies, each listing $500 million or more in liabilities, filed for creditor protection in the U.S.

Up to a third of all producers may be at risk of bankruptcy if commodity prices remain weak, according to a study by consulting firm Deloitte.

Warren is based in Houston and operates in California, Colorado, Wyoming and Pennsylvania. “With the precipitous drop in oil and gas prices significantly reducing the company’s revenues, the company is no longer able to service its debt obligations and meet operational expenses, let alone further develop it assets, without a financial restructuring,” it said in a news release.

As Reuters reports, Warren received notification from Nasdaq in February that the market value of its publicly held shares was below the requirement for the market. Its shares closed at about 9.5 cents on Thursday, down 27%. The stock had hit a 52-week high of 79 cents a year ago.