February 28, 2019
Restructuring in the oil and gas space has been quiet of late but we here at PETITION suspect that may change very soon. While oil has been on the rise (in the mid-60s at the time of this writing) — and there are both potential political and supply-side roadblocks growing domestically that may help push prices upward — there nevertheless appear to be cracks forming. We’ve been noting that Jones Energy ($JONE), Sanchez Energy Corporation ($SN), Southcross Energy Partners LP ($SXEE), and Vanguard Natural Resources all look distressed and headed towards chapter 11 bankruptcy filings (or a chapter 22 filing, as the case may be with Vanguard). Recent price action for several other companies also reflects some doubt about the oil and gas space.
Take, for instance, Alta Mesa Holdings LP ($AMR). Per The Houston Chronicle:
Houston oil and gas company Alta Mesa Resources is struggling to stay afloat, laying off roughly one-fourth of its employees and writing down the value of its assets by $3.1 billion because of admitted failures in its financial reporting.
The company's three top executives, CEO Hal Chappelle, Chief Operating Officer Michael Ellis and Chief Financial Officer Michael McCabe, resigned abruptly a few weeks ago.
The company disclosed in an SEC filing that the write-down stems from “ineffective internal control over financial reporting due to an identified material weakness.” We’re conjecturing here, but that sure sounds like diplomatic Texan for “we effed up pretty badly…perhaps even fraudulently.” Consequently, the plaintiffs’ lawyers are circling this puppy like vultures and, well, this:
Indeed, the company’s $500mm 7.875% senior unsecured bonds due 2024 got UTTERLY HOUSED, dipping down over 40% in a week and approximately 50% versus a month ago. This chart is BRUTAL:
We’ll take a deeper dive into Alta Mesa soon for our Members: if you’re not a Member well, we hope you revel in ignorance.
The price action of once-bankrupt Chaparral Energy Inc. ($CHAP) is also notable: it saw its stock collapse over 20% and its $300mm 8.75% senior unsecured notes due 2023 fall nearly 17%. More debt BRUTALITY here:
Long trips to Texas.
Here, Weatherly Oil & Gas LLC is an oil and gas acquisition and exploration company focused on Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas; it operates over 800 well bores (over half shut-in or non-producing) on 200k net acres. The company blames continued low commodity prices and fundamentally changed lending practices for its bankruptcy. Specifically, the company notes:
Lending practices moved from a reserves-based approach to a cash-flow based approach, limiting access to capital growth and forcing the Debtor to utilize free cash flow to pay down senior debt instead of making other capital expenditures.
Without capital and with an expensive production focus, the company struggled in the face of a glut of competition.
The company has a transaction support agreement pursuant to which it intends to sell its assets to multiple purchasers and then pursue a plan of liquidation. Angelo Gordon Energy Servicer LLC, the company’s prepetition lender, will provide a $1mm DIP to fund the cases. Halliburton Energy Services is the company’s largest unsecured creditor with an approximate $2.9mm claim.
Jurisdiction: S.D. of Texas (Judge Isgur)
Capital Structure: $90.2mm term loan (Angelo Gordon Energy Servicer LLC)
Legal: Jackson Walker LLP (Matthew Cavenaugh, Kristhy Peguero, Vienna Anaya)
Financial Advisor/CRO: Ankura Consulting Group LLC (Scott Pinsonnault)
Marketing Agent: TenOaks Energy Partners LLC
Claims Agent: Epiq Corporate Restructuring LLC (*click on the link above for free docket access)
Other Parties in Interest:
Prepetition Term Lender & DIP Lender ($1mm): Angelo Gordon Energy Servicer LLC
Legal: Vinson & Elkins LLP (Harry Perrin, David Meyer, Steven Zundell, Michael Garza)
Buyer: BRG Lone Star, Ltd.
Buyer: EnSight IV Energy Partners, LLC
Sponsor: Weatherly East Texas LLC
Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (Gregory Pesce, Brett Newman)