Fort Worth-based Energy & Exploration Partners Inc. has filed for Chapter 11 protection, one of several shale-related oil and gas companies who have headed to federal court.
In the petition, filed Monday, the company listed debt of $1 billion to $10 billion and assets of $500 million to $1 billion. The filing converts an involuntary bankruptcy petition filed in November by several creditors to a voluntary petition.
“We have taken this difficult, but necessary step in order to provide adequate time to complete ongoing discussions and processes with our lenders to restructure our balance sheet and create a strong financial foundation for the future,” said Hunt Pettit, Energy & Exploration Partners’ founder and CEO in a news release. “We appreciate the confidence our lenders continue to place in the Company, as demonstrated by their commitment to provide a significant level of additional capital while we work to finalize a restructuring to align our balance sheet with the realities of the current commodity price environment. We continue to manage our operations without interruption, and have taken measures to reduce costs without affecting our ability to operate our business safely and efficiently.”
Energy and Exploration officials said the company had secured commitments for up to $135 million of new debtor-in-possession financing from a group of its senior lenders to help fund operations during the bankruptcy.
In a news release, the company said it “continues to work closely with its suppliers and business partners to ensure its business continues uninterrupted. The company fully expects to continue producing oil and gas and maintain adequate staff.”
In conjunction with today’s filings, the company requested customary relief to support its royalty owners, partners, and employees during the process, including asking the court for permission to continue employee programs and mineral interest owner payments without interruption. The company said it remains in ongoing, productive dialogue with its creditors and other stakeholders regarding the terms of the restructuring.
Prior to this voluntary filing, the company began a reduction in staff and several senior executives also resigned. John Castellano of AlixPartners LLP has come on board as interim chief financial officer. AlixPartners has been retained as Energy & Exploration Partners’ restructuring adviser. Energy & Exploration Partners’ legal adviser is Bracewell & Giuliani LLP and Evercore has been retained as the company’s investment banker.