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Whiting Petroleum Aims to Exit Chapter 11 by August

May 6, 2020, 7:19 PM

Bankrupt shale driller Whiting Petroleum Corp. says it’s on track to emerge from bankruptcy this summer after filing Chapter 11 in the wake of the oil market collapse in March.

The company will seek final approval of company disclosures at a hearing June 10 and hopes to exit Chapter 11 by mid-July or early August, Gregory F. Pesce of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, one of Whiting’s attorneys, told the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the South District of Texas Wednesday.

A successful restructuring would be a bright spot for Whiting, which was among the first energy companies to file for bankruptcy since the coronavirus reduced demand for oil. Like many other energy companies, Whiting was saddled with debt and still recovering from the 2014-2016 crash in crude prices.

One of the largest producers in North Dakota’s Bakken shale region, Whiting had been losing money for several years before Covid-19. A price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, sent oil prices plummeting earlier this year.

Whiting may continue to pay its employees, use cash collateral, enter into new hedging arrangements, and pay other expenses to carry out day-to-day business under a series of orders from Judge David R. Jones of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas.

The Denver-based company filed for bankruptcy April 1 with a restructuring plan that would cut $2.3 billion of its $3.6 billion debt.

The company formalized a plan in late April to hand over 97% of its equity to creditors and give existing shareholders 3% of the reorganized company’s shares. The plan would repay unsecured claims in full.

Whiting will lay out more of its long-term business plans by the end of May, Pesce said.

The case is Whiting Petroleum Corp., Bankr. S.D. Tex., No. 20-32021, Hearing 5/6/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Leslie A. Pappas in Wilmington, Del. at lpappas@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com

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