Debt deadlines loom for SandRidge, Venoco and Energy XXI

Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:10pm EDT
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By Jessica DiNapoli

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The first major upstream oil and gas bankruptcy filing of the year could occur this week as SandRidge Energy Inc, Venoco Inc [DNVRPV.UL] and Energy XXI Ltd reach the end of grace periods following millions in missed interest payments.

The three oil and gas exploration and production companies with operations across the United States, said they would skip a total of $44.2 million in interest payments last month, as they negotiated debt restructurings with creditors.

Their decisions kicked off month-long grace periods. Under many credit agreements, lenders can call all their debt due after the end of the grace period, potentially pushing the companies into bankruptcy.

Venoco and Energy XXI could not immediately be reached for comment. SandRidge declined to comment on the grace period.

If either SandRidge or Energy XXI file for bankruptcy they would be among the biggest victims of the nearly two-year-long oil selloff, which has seen dozens of companies go under, tens of thousands of jobs axed and corporate spending slashed.

Before a rebound in the past two months, crude oil prices fell 75 percent from mid-2014 highs above $100 a barrel to 12-year lows of about $26 for WTI and around $27 for global benchmark Brent.

SandRidge currently has 717 employees, Energy XXI had 378 employees at June 30, and Venoco had 158 employees at the end of 2014.

SandRidge has total debts of around $4 billion and Energy XXI owes approximately $3.3 billion. Venoco owes $565 million.   Continued...

An electronic display identifies the post that trades SandRidge Energy stock on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, January 11, 2013. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid