Oil Patch Braces for Financial Reckoning – WSJ

U.S. energy companies have defied financial gravity for more than a year, borrowing and spending billions of dollars to pump oil, even as crude prices plummeted. Until now. The oil patch is expected to finally face a financial reckoning, experts say, with carnage occurring as early as this month. One trigger: Smaller drillers are bracing for cuts to their credit lines in October as banks re-evaluate how much energy companies’ oil and gas properties are worth. But with oil trading below $45 a barrel, bigger oil outfits are struggling to stay profitable, too.Jim Flores, vice chairman of Freeport-McMoRan Inc., which pumps oil in the Gulf of Mexico, explained the industry’s conundrum this way: “It’s raining and it’s going to rain for a long time. We’re all going to get wet. A few people are going to drown. You just have to make it to the other side.”Mr. Flores’s friend Al Walker, chief executive of Anadarko Petroleum Corp., one of the biggest oil companies in the U.S., recently told the audience at a Barclays energy conference, “Frankly at the end of the day, none of us have a great sense for where oil prices are going.”

Source: Oil Patch Braces for Financial Reckoning – WSJ

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