BY Richard Summerfield
Energy XXI has become the latest oil & gas producer in the US to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. According to a statement, the company hopes to eliminate more than $2.8bn worth of debt during its restructuring.
Court documents filed in Houston, Texas note that prior to the filing the company had agreed a deal to secure a $1.45bn debt-for-equity swap with a group of its bondholders.
Energy XXI, which employs around 300 people, will continue to honour employee and vendor payments as it has sufficient liquidity of around $180m of cash on hand. Energy XXI will also be able to utilise funds generated from ongoing operations to support the business in the ordinary course during the financial restructuring process.
Much like many of its rivals, Energy XXI has been struggling to keep its head above water for some time; since the collapse of crude oil prices, it has been forced to slash its budget by almost half, reduce costs, cut its workforce from nearly 500 last year, and divest assets. However, these measures appear to have been insufficient. The price of crude has hovered around $40 for some time, and, according to data from Reuters, it needs to be at least $60 for Energy XXI to break even.
In March the company announced that it was delaying an interest payment due on debt of one of its subsidiaries, a decision that began a 30 day grace period. However, discussions between the company and a number of its major unsecured creditors are believed to have begun in summer 2015. At the end of February, the company said it had been warned it could be delisted from the Nasdaq Stock Market as a result of ongoing financial difficulties.
In order to execute the Chapter 11 restructuring, Energy XXI entered into a restructuring support agreement with holders of more than 63 percent of the company’s secured second lien 11.0 percent notes. The agreement will facilitate the removal of all of the company’s debt other than its first lien reserve based loan facility.
Energy XXI must file a reorganisation plan by 16 May and have it approved by the judge overseeing the case by 8 August.