'Oil price war' claims first shale victim

THE first casualty of the oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia is Whiting Petroleum Corp, after it blamed the crash in crude for its decision to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy overnight.
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Whiting shares fell from US$30 to just US$0.37 cents over 12 months. It blamed the current oil price 'war' between Saudi Arabia and Russia as the final straw before entering bankruptcy.

Paul Hunt

Senior Journalist: Oil & Gas, Policy.

Paul Hunt


Midcap US producer Whiting was founded in 1980 and first listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2003. 

It became one of the largest shale players listed on the exchange with a swathe of high-producing assets. 

Last quarter the company was producing 123,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from its shale operations.

This time last year its shares were worth US$30.30 each. Whiting's last trading share price was US$0.37. 

At the open of the New York Stock Exchange, it told the market it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a Texas Court and suspended its shares. 

Whiting CEO and president Bradley Holly said the company had exhausted all options to reduce its costs last year, but that looming note maturities and current economic conditions gave the board of management little choice but to file for bankruptcy. 

"[The board made the decision] given the severe downturn in oil and gas prices driven by uncertainty around the duration of the Saudi - Russia oil price war and the COVID-19 pandemic," Holly said. 

Whiting has more than US$585 million cash on its balance sheet. Holly said the company would continue to operate its business until it had considered refinancing options. 



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