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More companies operating in Bakken oil patch file bankruptcy

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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Two more energy companies operating in North Dakota’s Bakken oil patch have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the midst of slumping crude prices.

Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Samson Resources and Denver-based American Eagle Energy plan to sell off Bakken assets to pay debts, the Bismarck Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1Wflzft ).

Samson filed for bankruptcy in mid-September, hoping to clear out more than $3.25 billion in debt. Company spokesman Brian Maddox said Samson hasn’t yet succeeded in selling acreage.

Under a restructuring agreement, lenders own all the reorganized company’s equity in exchange for at least $450 million of new capital.

“The steps we are taking will allow our company to maximize future opportunities and compete more effectively with significantly less debt on our balance sheet,” Samson CEO Randy Limbacher said in a statement. “We fully expect to operate our business as usual throughout this process and to emerge as a financially stronger company.”

Between June and late September, 10 oil and gas companies filed for bankruptcy. Nineteen have filed for bankruptcy in the past year.

Others have agreed to sell shale oil acreage and assets in North Dakota. Bismarck-based MDU Resources Corp. also is trying to sell off its oil and gas exploration subsidiary, Fidelity Exploration and Production Co.

North Dakota sweet crude on Tuesday was fetching about $36 a barrel — about half of what it sold for a year ago. The number of drilling rigs in North Dakota has plummeted by nearly two-thirds.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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