November 26, 2018
Belligerent week for companies attached to the oil and gas space (see also Waypoint Leasing). Here, Houston-based Fairway Energy LP, which, interestingly (and somewhat oddly), is 28%-owned by the President and Fellows of Harvard College (🤔), is a storage provider for third-party companies engaged in the production, distribution and marketing of crude oil; it is also now in bankruptcy down in the District of Delaware.
Specifically, the company provides undersurface salt cavern storage, storage that has been utilized since the 40s because of its “extremely low risk of leakage through self-sealing under cavern operating pressures.” The company began construction on its 10-million barrel underground storage facility (the “Facility”) in 2015 (rough timing); yet, it has exclusive rights to store in the facility and has otherwise secured the necessary leases to operate in its geographic location. It is also connected to customers via owned and third-party pipeline systems, which enable to the company to take inbound capacity from the (hot) Permian Basin, the Eagle Ford Shale Basin, and Canada/Midcontinent. The pipelines also connect to hubs that connect to “downstream” infrastructure, i.e., refiners, etc.
To get off the ground, the company had a $390mm equity infusion and $80mm in term loans from Riverstone Credit Partners LP. The company has been operating off of credit agreement amendments now for months, however, given operational and market issues that impeded their use of the Facility and hampered liquidity. Per the company:
For the nine (9) months ended September 30, 2018, Fairway had an operating loss of $38,600,000 (before interest, expense, and other income). Fairway’s financial performance has been negatively affected by (i) reduced and delayed demand for its services, (ii) cost overruns on the Facility, (iii) commercial restrictions on accessing the Facility by existing pipeline connections, and (iv) general market conditions that undermine the demand for crude oil storage.
In other words, a perfect storm posing all sorts of headwinds. These winds, it seems, chilled any potential buyer interest in the Facility: pre-petition efforts to find a buyer, including a stalking horse buyer, proved futile. It seems all of the hopeful and flowery language deployed by the company’s professionals in the First Day Declaration about the usefulness of the Facility isn’t a sentiment shared by any prospective purchasers. Was this whole project a solution in search of a problem? Via the bankruptcy sale process, we’ll soon find out. So, will Riverstone (which is also providing a $20mm DIP credit facility) and the writers of the $390mm of equity checks (read: Harvard).
Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware
Capital Structure: $94mm debt
Legal: Haynes and Boone LLP (Patrick Hughes, Martha Wyrick, Kelsey Zottnick) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Edmon Morton, Kenneth Enos, Elizabeth Justison)
Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC (Gary Barton, Kevin Larin)
Investment Banker: Piper Jaffray & Co./Simmons & Company International
Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
Other Parties in Interest: