Ultra Petroleum seeks bankruptcy protection

Unable to reach a debt-restructuring deal for its $3.9 billion in unsecured debt, Ultra Petroleum Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Apr. 29 in Houston.

The Houston independent skipped a series of interest payments leading up to Apr. 1, and by mid-April faced a lawsuit from Rockies Express Pipeline LLC alleging breach of contract and seeking damages.

“During the forbearance period under the waiver agreements, we have attempted to and are continuing to negotiate a restructuring of our indebtedness, but, as of the date of this quarterly report on Form 10-Q, we have not been successful at accomplishing our plan,” Garland Shaw, Ultra chief financial officer, explained in the US Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Ultra primarily focuses on developing natural gas reserves in Pinedale and Jonah fields of Wyoming’s Green River basin. The firm also has an oil development under way in Three Rivers field in Utah’s Uinta basin, and a second natural gas position in the Marcellus shale of Pennsylvania’s Appalachian basin.

During fourth-quarter 2015, Ultra recorded a noncash ceiling test writedown of $3.1 billion in the firm’s carrying value of oil and gas properties due to low oil and gas prices.

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