| Sept 20
Sept 20 Oil and natural gas explorer Vanguard
Natural Resources LLC has hired Evercore Partners Inc
to explore options for bolstering finances as it
struggles to cope with low energy prices, according to people
familiar with the matter.
The appointment follows similar moves by other oil and gas
companies, including California Resources Corp and
Chesapeake Energy Corp, to rejigger their balance sheets
to survive a two-year downturn in commodities prices.
One of the options Vanguard is considering includes finding
new financing to help pay down the company's debt, the people
said. This totaled $1.8 billion as of June 30, including $1.4
billion drawn from its revolving credit facility.
After its borrowing base was redetermined this spring, the
Houston-based company was overdrawn on its revolver, and had
been making monthly installments to cover the balance.
The sources, who spoke last week and this week, asked not to
be identified because the deliberations are confidential.
Representatives of Vanguard and Evercore did not respond to
requests for comment.
In a move that Vanguard may choose to replicate, California
Resources last month secured a $1 billion term loan, which it
used to buy back notes at a discount. Chesapeake Energy did a
similar transaction with a $1.5 billion term loan.
After oil prices collapsed by more than 50 percent over the
past two years, more than 100 energy producers and services
companies have filed for bankruptcy.
Vanguard has also taken other steps to survive the rout. To
try to push out maturities and reduce interest expense, it
launched a debt swap earlier this year, but it did not garner a
lot of participation among the bond holders it targeted. Its
bank lenders also gave it a loan waiver in the second quarter of
The company this year also sold more than 20,000 acres in a
Oklahoma Scoop/Stack oil and gas play to a Dallas investment
firm for $272.5 million, which it used to pay down borrowings
under its revolver.
(Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by Matthew