Oasis Petroleum is aiming for a quick turnaround on a pre-packaged Chapter 11 reorganization that will reduce debts by $1.8 billion, the total of its unsecured and senior unsecured convertible notes.
Oasis is the latest oil and gas company to file for bankruptcy after the twin effect of the coronavirus pandemic which crushed demand for oil and gas products, and an international price war, which dramatically dropped the prices for petroleum products, leaving the world awash in excess oil.
Whiting Petroleum Corporation was first of the major Bakken producers to file for Chapter 11 in April. It emerged on Sept. 1.
Oasis, prior to filing for Chapter 11, had announced it was opting to skip its September interest payment for senior unsecured notes while it was negotiating a financial restructure to reduce debt with its lenders.
The company was $2.7 billion in debt with just $77.4 million in cash and cash equivalents on hand at the time it filed for Chapter 11 in a Texas bankruptcy court on Sept. 30.
In a media release, Oasis said it reached agreement with all of the lenders in its revolving credit facility and 52 percent of those holding its aggregate principal amount for the bankruptcy package, which trades debt forgiveness for future equity interest.
The deal includes $450 million in debtor-in-possession financing from existing lenders to allow it to continue operating as usual during the course of the reorganization, and a revolving credit facility with up to $575 million in borrowing capacity.
The proposed timeline calls for the company to emerge from bankruptcy in November 2020, at which time it projects it will have about $340 million of borrowings under the Oasis Petroleum credit facility.
The proposed restructure does not include Oasis Midstream Partners, a separate legal entity that gathers and processes natural gas for Oasis Petroleum, which the company has said previously is “well capitalized.”
OMP’s main customer is its parent, which provides 76 percent of its volumes.
Other Oasis entities not included in the Chapter 11 filing include OMP Operating, Bobcat DevCo, Beartooth Devco, Bighorn Devco and Panther Devco,
“Oasis Petroleum is a great company with high-quality assets and employees and a well-earned reputation for excellence in environmental stewardship, safety and governance,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Thomas B. Nusz said. “However, due to historically low global energy demand and commodity prices, we determined that it is best for Oasis Petroleum to take decisive action to strengthen our liquidity and overcome the headwinds now challenging both our company and industry.”
Nusz added that he appreciated the support of financial stakeholders in the company, and expressed confidence that Oasis would emerge from the process a stronger company.
“We expect to continue our operations as normal and intend to meet our obligations to vendors, and to continue making payments to royalty owners, working interest owners and surface owners on a go-forward basis,” he said.
Oasis, like Whiting, laid off a number of people in late summer 2019, although it was never clear just how many were let go. A former employee told the Williston Herald it was around 80, while a state notice estimated it was 40 in the Williston region.
The notices are only required when companies are Laing off 33 percent of workforce in a single office, or at least 50 employees — but many companies do not file the notice at all, making it difficult to track layoffs.
Unplanned delays in getting the Wild Basin gas processing plant in McKenzie County up and running were among problems that contributed to the layoffs at that time, along with weather issues on top of a short construction season.
In February, just before the pandemic began, Oasis also announced it was shuttering its oilfield services businesses, and outsourcing the service to Halliburton.
Oasis Petroleum began in the Bakken, and was founded in 2007 by Tommy Nusz and Taylor Reid. After the 2015 downturn, it expanded its holdings to the Permian.
It is active in six subsections of the Williston Basin, Cottonwood, Alger, Wild Basin, Indian Hills, Red Bank and Montana.