Emerald Oil has become the second Colorado based upstream to file for bankruptcy in less than a week.
The company and its subsidiaries filed voluntary Chapter 11 petitions on Wednesday in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.
The company said that low oil prices have “significantly impacted” its operations and that continued energy price volatility coupled with its “substantial debt obligations” prompted the filing.
The filing will start “a process intended to preserve value and accommodate an eventual going-concern sale of Emerald’s business operations,” Emerald said.
The company said it has explored and presented multiple solutions to its lenders over the past nine months but it was unable to reach a deal.
Emerald intends to continue its normal business operations through the bankruptcy process.
The company has obtained $20 million in post-petition debtor in possession financing that is expected to provide enough liquidity to maintain operations in the ordinary course of business during the Chapter 11 process.
The financing must still be approved by the Bankruptcy Court.
Prior to the Chapter 11 filing, Emerald executed a non-binding term sheet with Latium Enterprises that proposes that Latium purchase “substantially all” of Emerald’s assets.
The term sheet also calls for Latium to serve as a “stalking horse” in the sales process, subject to lender and court approval.
“Emerald intends for such a sale, if consummated, to ensure a smooth and swift transition of the business and operations to Latium, which would be supported by a stronger balance sheet due to a significantly lower debt burden,” the company said.
Emerald expects that the Latium deal will also allow it to continue operating in North Dakota.
The company has asked the court to approve requests to protect employees and trade creditors as well as vendors and suppliers so that operations can continue uninterrupted during the sales process.
Emerald added that it continues to evaluate and discuss alternatives with its stakeholders.
“This process is the only path going forward and should enable the business to execute a turnaround in the current low oil price environment. Importantly, Emerald’s plan and the Latium transaction would allow the business to continue to operate and would provide a sound path for potential recovery for company stakeholders,” Emerald CEO and president McAndrew Rudisill said.
Emerald is an independent exploration and production operator focused on acquiring acreage and developing wells in the Williston Basin of North Dakota and Montana, targeting the Bakken and Three Forks shale oil formations and Pronghorn sand oil formation.
Last Friday, private upstream Venoco said that the financial fall out from a 2015 pipeline spill in California forced it to file for Chapter 11.
Venoco expects to maintain all operations during the restructuring process.