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Capital for small independents has been an issue since the downturn and doesn't appear to be abating even with $65-70 oil.  Banks have been less interested in providing much needed capital to these smaller entities.

When the oil market crashed in 2014, there were 177 bankruptcies as a result.  Why did they occur?  Simple... the banks lent the oil companies money based on their reserves, valued at $80-100 per barrel.  When the market crashed to $27 a barrel, the banks called the loans but the money was in the ground and everyone was upside down.

Needless to say, it was a bad decision all around; relying on a fractious commodity price to service a hard asset with a terminable interest rate that needed to be paid back come hell or bankruptcy. The result is the small to medium operator has no source of capital.  They're too small for the larger banks or private equity firms to be interested.  

Volumetric Production Payments, (VPPs), have been used prior to even the oil and gas industry drilling its first well... in the gold rush days to be exact.  It provides financing by using existing production to forward finance re-works, re-completions, PUD drilling etc.

The production is bought at a discount to the market and a strict delivery schedule is offered to the financial source and hedged.  Typical terms are 3-4 years at the end of the term, the producer gets his total production back.  Normal terms are for the producer to retain 40-70% of his existing production during the term.

There are about 9,000 independent oil and gas producers in the U.S and employ an average of just 12 people...this is a market niche that desperately need to be served.

Entries in this blog

 

Capital Markets... Dive in Now?

The recent market volatility has left investors and capital seekers seeking he same consensus: where does it end and what's the upside?  The age old question continues to perplex both parties.  I'm taking the position from both sides.. first as a former exploration company President who had sought capital from the banks, from P/E firms, mezzanine debt and from the public markets and secondly as a capital provider.  We currently manage substantial amounts of capital that are looking to deploy into the energy sector, so being on both sides in a past and current life, I speak from experience. Oil and gas companies that seek us out for capital come in a number of flavors and sizes.  Typically, they are smaller entities, or juniors.  This is our financing niche.  Their needs are the usual: drill PUDs, re-work, acquire non-cores, get a leg up on OPEX and generally seek growth in fractious times.  In nearly every case, the banks are exhausted as much as the juniors are.  These companies are far too small for the P/E firms to get involved and the old 'Third for a quarter' deal won't cut it.  What to do? As a capital provider, we seek to obviously entreat the best companies we can to provide this dearly needed money.  Some have said that the smaller deals that come in to any facility seeking capital are the deals no one else will touch.  We disagree.  The old saying, "Oil and gas doesn't care who owns it,' serves a point.  Economies of scale are persistent relative to size.  Nearly all the companies we review are sitting on oil, and what better place to produce from than an existing field?  Have the production and a good development plan?  Are these good oil people with a solid history of exploration and exploitation?  We take these into account, among other things as we review and allocate due diligence resources to determine if the underpinnings are there and there's sufficient existing PDPs to support the capital raise over a term. A word about the raise.. it's non-recourse, not a loan, off balance sheet, no equity take out and there's no back-in after payout. Oil companies seek a better, more efficient way to utilize and pay back capital and there is a better way than the old tried and perhaps not so true way... In these times, we feel a floor has been reached and tested market wise.  Wise firms can access wise money now, versus looking for it when the recent 30% drop has been recovered and capital costs and service costs will likely erode portions of this gain. Companies can't afford to hand wring now... it's time to set up for the future and plan capex budgets now.         

Omnipresent Big Need for Capital... Alternatives?

Smaller producers who are finding it more difficult to secure bank credit, with many loans still under pressure, are seeking new ways to capture funding.  As prices are making it a bit easier to add to the balance sheet, versus $26 per barrel in recent times, new avenues for capital have opened up. We see the increased ability of 'non-bank' capital sources to serve these operators that have a large need for capital.  Reserve Based Lending, (RBLs), are certainly in transition and many smaller operators are simply too small to attract this capital.  Mezzanine debt and some credit funds have typically been the next horizon for capital, but other alternative methods are needed to fulfill this capital need that make sense to these sized operators. Backstory: the Comptroller of the Currency's revised lending guidelines have become stricter and banks are being squeezed.  More than $208 billion in upstream debt existed at the end of 2017, with nearly $75 billion not in compliance with the new banking strictures... So, what does this mean for the producer?  As these mature, some may be renewed, many will not and where there's a gap and if companies can't renew their RBL, they'll need other methods to fund themselves.  Solution for some, not for all: Volumetric Production Payments, (VPPs) on existing production.  Not bank debt, non-recourse and there's no equity relinquished to the private equity bunch.  We love to see PDP assets and can leverage them to grant the capital these firms need effectively and efficiently, usually within 30-45 days, versus the slog through banking procedures. It makes sense that as the traditional methods of funding are under pressure, that direct capital can be accessed through ways that make sense to the operator... he keeps the upside, typically at least 70% with facilities up to $20 million. Always open for discussion!

KH

BlackLine Resources

 

Capital for Independents Take on a New Look

Capital for small independents has been an issue since the downturn and doesn't appear to be abating even with $65-70 oil.  Banks have been less interested in providing much needed capital to these smaller entities. When the oil market crashed in 2014, there were 177 bankruptcies as a result.  Why did they occur?  Simple... the banks lent the oil companies money based on their reserves, valued at $80-100 per barrel.  When the market crashed to $27 a barrel, the banks called the loans but the money was in the ground and everyone was upside down. Needless to say, it was a bad decision all around; relying on a fractious commodity price to service a hard asset with a terminable interest rate that needed to be paid back come hell or bankruptcy. The result is the small to medium operator has no source of capital.  They're too small for the larger banks or private equity firms to be interested.   Volumetric Production Payments, (VPPs), have been used prior to even the oil and gas industry drilling its first well... in the gold rush days to be exact.  It provides financing by using existing production to forward finance re-works, re-completions, PUD drilling etc. The production is bought at a discount to the market and a strict delivery schedule is offered to the financial source and hedged.  Typical terms are 3-4 years at the end of the term, the producer gets his total production back.  Normal terms are for the producer to retain 40-70% of his existing production during the term. There are about 9,000 independent oil and gas producers in the U.S and employ an average of just 12 people...this is a market niche that desperately need to be served.
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