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Texas energy firm files bankruptcy after falling oil prices

Energy & Exploration Partners of Fort Worth and an affiliate filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after the Texas firm was unable to pay millions of dollars in debt, citing changes to the world oil market. The supplier and service companies filed late on Dec. 7 after Schlumberger Technology, Baker and Hughes and Cactus Pipe and Supply filed for involuntary bankruptcy against Energy & Exploration Partners on Nov. 25. The firm is one of several companies that are seeking debt restructuring due to the dramatic fall in oil prices.

OPEC has pledged to keep pumping oil even as the world market prices have fallen. Energy & Exploration filed with debts of between $1 billion and $10 billion as well as assets of $500 million to $1 billion. A sister company also listed assets of a maximum of $1 million with liabilities ranging between $500 and $1 billion, according to the court records. A chief executive officer reported that the corporate bankruptcy was necessary to restructure the company's balance sheet and become financially stronger in the future.

Energy & Exploration owed the National Bank Association $338.8 million, Chesapeake Exploration $23.3 million, Cactus Pipe and Supply $2.2 million and Schlumberger $1.9 million. Additionally, the firm owed Baker Hughes $1.1 million. After its founding in 2008, Energy & Exploration owns approximately 61,000 acres of Texas land, including holdings in East Texas. An executive reported that the company was significantly impacted by the fall in oil prices.

Texas consumers who are overwhelmed by their financial obligations may want to consider Chapter 13 bankruptcy as a way to restructure their debts under a court-approved repayment plan. There are eligibility and other requirements associated with that chapter that an attorney can explain.

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