Energy Valuation Insights

A weekly update on issues important to the oil and gas industry

Category

Bankruptcy


COVID-19 Coverage Special Topics

Oilfield Services in 2020

Fork in the Road: Survival or Bankruptcy?

In this post, we explore some of the many factors that play into making it more (or less) likely that an oilfield service participant will survive an industry downturn intact, or succumb to market pressures and enter into bankruptcy.

COVID-19 Coverage

Oil Frackers Are Breaking Records Again – In Bankruptcy Court

This year has beaten down America’s oil producers. It started bad, with the Russian-Saudi battle for market share, then cascaded into terrible as the COVID pandemic gutted petroleum demand and sent oil prices down to an unheard of -$38 (negative!) per barrel. Those with the weakest hands have taken shelter in bankruptcy court, where it has been a busy six months.

Bridging Valuation Gaps With Options

How Option Pricing Can Be Used to Understand the Future Potential of Assets Most Affected by Low Prices, PUDs and Unproven Reserves

Due to the precipitous drop in oil prices in 2020, oil E&P companies in the U.S. have struggled to pay their debts, and in many cases already have had to file for bankruptcy. In this post, we re-examine how option pricing, a sophisticated valuation technique, can be used to understand the future potential of the assets most affected by low prices, PUDs and unproven reserves. Whether companies are looking to sell these reserves to improve their cash balance, or are trying to generate reorganization cash flow projections during a Chapter 11 restructuring, understanding how to value PUDs and unproven reserves is crucial to survival in a down market.

COVID-19 Coverage

Valuation Considerations in Bankruptcy Proceedings

An Overview for Oil & Gas Companies

For oil & gas companies, the decision to file for bankruptcy does not necessarily signal the demise of the business.  If executed properly, Chapter 11 reorganization affords a financially distressed or insolvent company an opportunity to restructure its liabilities and emerge from the proceedings as a viable going concern. Although the Chapter 11 process can seem burdensome, a rigorous assessment of cash flows, and a company’s capital structure can help the company as it develops a plan for years of future success.  The purpose of this post is to provide an explanation of the key valuation-related steps of a Chapter 11 restructuring and help managers realize this potential.

COVID-19 Coverage

2020 Commodity Prices Upend 2019 E&P Bankruptcies

The recent historic decline in oil prices has strained the balance sheets of E&P companies.  Whiting Petroleum Corporation, the first publicly traded U.S. E&P company to declare bankruptcy in 2020, announced its Chapter 11 reorganization process on April 1.  More are expected to follow.

Despite a much more benign commodity price environment of ~$50-$60/bbl in 2019, a number of E&P companies declared bankruptcy last year and have seen their reorganization processes derailed in 2020 as a result of low oil prices.

Domestic Production

Are Oil and Gas Bankruptcies a Thing of the Past?

Since the start of the oil downturn, more than 120 upstream and oilfield service companies declared bankruptcy. However, as we described in a previous post, the decision to file for bankruptcy did not always signal the demise of the business. Now more prepared, many E&P companies who reorganized are looking to grow.

Domestic Production

Bountiful Barrels, Booms and….Bankruptcies?

Last month we learned something that might not be a shock to those closely following the oil and gas markets, but might be something of a bombshell to everyone else. A report from Rystad Energy estimated that in July 2016, for the first time ever, the United States has more recoverable oil than any other country on the planet – 264 billion barrels. What was the reward for E&P firms? Ironically, it has unfortunately turned out to be a long line at bankruptcy courts.

Domestic Production Valuation Issues

Oil and Gas Market Discussion: Part 2

In May 2016, we attended a panel event discussing investment opportunities in the financially distressed oil and gas sector. The panel included a “who’s who” of oil and gas experts located in Texas. Two industry participants, two consultants, one analyst and one economist discussed the economic outlook for energy prices and then corporate strategy and investment opportunities given the economic outlook. This post, the second and last summarizing this panel discussion, will report opinions given on corporate strategy and investment opportunities.

Domestic Production Valuation Issues

Bankruptcy: An Overview Part 3

Upon confirmation by the bankruptcy court, a bankruptcy plan must not be likely to result in liquidation or further reorganization. To satisfy the court, a cash-flow test is used to analyze whether the restructured company would generate enough cash to consistently pay its debts. This post walks through the three steps of a cash-flow test.

Valuation Issues

Bankruptcy: An Overview Part 2

From January through May of this year, 39 E&P companies and 31 oilfield services companies had to file for bankruptcy. This post is the second of three aimed at helping those companies and any others who may face bankruptcy in the future to understand the valuation-related aspects of Chapter 11 restructuring. In the first post, we highlighted two reorganization requirements tied to valuation. Here we will explore the consequences of the first of those requirements: The plan should demonstrate that the economic outcomes for the consenting stakeholders (creditors or equity holders) are superior under the Chapter 11 proceeding compared to a Chapter 7 proceeding, which provides for a liquidation of the business.

Bakken Shale

M&A Activity in the Bakken

In order to survive, when producing is no longer economically feasible, production companies are selling “non-core” assets to generate the cash. M&A activity of Bakken assets has slowed in 2016, but most Bakken assets are selling for heavy discounts making them attractive to buyers. This posts discusses some of these transactions in light of the current environment.

Bankruptcy: An Overview

In the current low pricing environment, many oil and gas companies are declaring bankruptcy. However, the decision to file for bankruptcy does not have to signal the demise of the business. If executed properly Chapter 11 reorganization in fact affords these financially distressed or insolvent companies an opportunity to restructure their liabilities and emerge as sustainable going concerns.

Valuation Issues

Bridging Valuation Gaps: Part 3

This is the third and final post in a series aimed at helping E&P companies to navigate the sale of non-core assets and bankruptcy by examining how option pricing, a sophisticated valuation technique, can be used to understand the future potential of the assets most affected by low prices, PUDs and unproven reserves. In this post, we delve into the specifics of adapting option pricing from shares of stock to oil and gas, highlighting some of the challenges and key steps of the process.

Valuation Issues

Bridging Valuation Gaps: Part 2

This is the second in a series of three blog posts aimed at helping E&P companies to navigate the sale of non-core assets and bankruptcy by examining how option pricing, a sophisticated valuation technique, can be used to understand the future potential of assets most affected by low prices, PUDs and unproven reserves. In this second installment we explain the general idea behind option pricing and why it may be more suited to a low price environment than traditional DCF models. Part three will then cover some of the issues that arise when using the option pricing method to value oil and gas companies’ assets.

Bakken Shale Valuation Issues

Bridging Valuation Gaps: Part 1

Due to a precipitous drop in oil prices since June 2014, oil exploration and production companies in the US have struggled to pay their debts and in many cases have had to file for bankruptcy. This is the first post in a three part series examining how option pricing, a sophisticated valuation technique, can be used to understand the future potential of the assets most affected by low prices, PUDs and unproven reserves.

Oil & Gas

Mercer Capital provides oil and gas companies, oil and gas servicers, and mineral & royalty owners with corporate valuation, asset valuation, litigation support, transaction advisory, and related services