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Bankruptcy Mayhem in the Oil Patch [Chart]

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Bankruptcy Mayhem in the Oil Patch [Chart]

Bankruptcy Mayhem in the Oil Patch [Chart]

Total debt of newly bankrupted energy companies is soaring each month

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

Most investors are aware that there is significant carnage in the oil patch. Low energy prices caught overleveraged companies off guard, and it’s forced many of these companies to seek protection from their creditors through bankruptcy.

However, the pace of new bankruptcies is accelerating fast, and now bigger companies are being affected. This week’s chart shows that the 11 new bankruptcies in April 2016 carry a substantial debt load of nearly $15 billion – most of which is unsecured.

A quick look at the data, which we pulled from Haynes and Boone, LLP, tells the tale:

New BankruptciesTotal DebtAvg. Debt Per Company
January 20163$32,000,000$10,666,667
February 20166$280,000,000$46,666,667
March 20167$1,840,000,000$262,857,143
April 201611$14,920,000,000$1,356,363,636

In the first two months of 2016, there were nine bankruptcies. Not one of the companies filing had debts that exceeded $200 million.

In March, there were a total of seven new bankruptcies, including Venoco Inc. Venoco is a private company that is heavily oil-weighted with assets located offshore and onshore in Southern California. Venoco’s filing listed that it had $1.28 billion in debts, 71% of which are unsecured.

Meanwhile, April was the biggest month for oil patch bankruptcies in the last two years. A total of 11 companies filed, but even more meaningful to investors is that four of the bankruptcies were public companies with debts exceeding $1 billion.

Pacific Energy, formerly Pacific Rubiales, used to be the largest operating oil company in South America. Now, however, the company is in the midst of undergoing dramatic restructuring. Common shares have been delisted and the company is also seeking to get extensions on its $5 billion of unsecured debt.

Texas-based Ultra Petroleum, which has nearly $4 billion in unsecured debt, has dropped from the NYSE to the OTC as it too seeks protection. The stock’s 52 week high was $17, but it now shares are trading for mere pennies.

Two other big companies to go to court were Energy XII and Midstates Petroleum. They each owe roughly $3 billion and $2 billion of total debt, respectively. Energy XII operates 10 of the largest oilfields on the Gulf of Mexico Shelf, while Oklahoma-based Midstates is focused on the application of modern drilling and completion techniques in oil and liquids-rich basins in the onshore U.S.

The grand total of debt for all April bankruptcy filers was an astounding $14.9 billion, most of which is unsecured. For reference, the 42 energy companies that filed for bankruptcy in all of 2015 had a combined $17.2 billion in debt.

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Charted: Global Uranium Reserves, by Country

We visualize the distribution of the world’s uranium reserves by country, with 3 countries accounting for more than half of total reserves.

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A cropped chart visualizing the distribution of the global uranium reserves, by country.

Charted: Global Uranium Reserves, by Country

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

There can be a tendency to believe that uranium deposits are scarce from the critical role it plays in generating nuclear energy, along with all the costs and consequences related to the field.

But uranium is actually fairly plentiful: it’s more abundant than gold and silver, for example, and about as present as tin in the Earth’s crust.

We visualize the distribution of the world’s uranium resources by country, as of 2021. Figures come from the World Nuclear Association, last updated on August 2023.

Ranked: Uranium Reserves By Country (2021)

Australia, Kazakhstan, and Canada have the largest shares of available uranium resources—accounting for more than 50% of total global reserves.

But within these three, Australia is the clear standout, with more than 1.7 million tonnes of uranium discovered (28% of the world’s reserves) currently. Its Olympic Dam mine, located about 600 kilometers north of Adelaide, is the the largest single deposit of uranium in the world—and also, interestingly, the fourth largest copper deposit.

Despite this, Australia is only the fourth biggest uranium producer currently, and ranks fifth for all-time uranium production.

CountryShare of Global
Reserves
Uranium Reserves (Tonnes)
🇦🇺 Australia28%1.7M
🇰🇿 Kazakhstan13%815K
🇨🇦 Canada10%589K
🇷🇺 Russia8%481K
🇳🇦 Namibia8%470K
🇿🇦 South Africa5%321K
🇧🇷 Brazil5%311K
🇳🇪 Niger5%277K
🇨🇳 China4%224K
🇲🇳 Mongolia2%145K
🇺🇿 Uzbekistan2%131K
🇺🇦 Ukraine2%107K
🌍 Rest of World9%524K
Total100%6M

Figures are rounded.

Outside the top three, Russia and Namibia both have roughly the same amount of uranium reserves: about 8% each, which works out to roughly 470,000 tonnes.

South Africa, Brazil, and Niger all have 5% each of the world’s total deposits as well.

China completes the top 10, with a 3% share of uranium reserves, or about 224,000 tonnes.

A caveat to this is that current data is based on known uranium reserves that are capable of being mined economically. The total amount of the world’s uranium is not known exactly—and new deposits can be found all the time. In fact the world’s known uranium reserves increased by about 25% in the last decade alone, thanks to better technology that improves exploration efforts.

Meanwhile, not all uranium deposits are equal. For example, in the aforementioned Olympic Dam, uranium is recovered as a byproduct of copper mining occurring at the same site. In South Africa, it emerges as a byproduct during treatment of ores in the gold mining process. Orebodies with high concentrations of two substances can increase margins, as costs can be shared for two different products.

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