News wire — Banks have begun trimming back the credit lines of America’s shale producers, further undercutting a beleaguered industry that’s been struggling to rebuild investor confidence, Bloomberg reports.
Laredo Petroleum Inc. and Oasis Petroleum Inc. are among at least six producers whose ability to secure short-term loans against their oil and natural gas reserves have dropped by 10% or more, according to data in earnings statements and filings. The declines offer the first hint of results from a semi-annual bank review of the industry’s borrowing capacity that generally runs through December.
For the first time since 2016, an industry survey done prior to the review found most respondents expected to see declines. The noose is tightening at a time when producers have seen their market values plunge 21% this year. Meanwhile, at least 15 producers have already filed for bankruptcy during the year.
A substantive decline in borrowing base “can be a good precursor to potential bankruptcy because as capital markets stay closed off for these companies, the borrowing base serves as the only source of liquidity,” Billy Bailey, Saltstone Capital Management LLC portfolio manager, said by telephone.
Representatives for Laredo and Oasis did not immediately return phone and email messages seeking comment.
Bondholders and other lenders are increasingly wary of what’s unfolding in shale. Chesapeake Energy Corp., once the nation’s largest gas supplier, warned earlier this month it may struggle to avoid bankruptcy. While fracking has turbocharged U.S. oil and gas output in recent years, that success has helped drive down oil prices to almost half what they were five years ago.