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US Oil Producer Unit Corporation Files for Bankruptcy Due to Over $650 Million in COVID-19 Debt

The Unit Corporation said in a statement on Tuesday that it has filed for bankruptcy after acquiring debt of more than $650 million thereby becoming the third oil and gas exploration and production company in the United States to become a casualty to the measures implemented to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Like many companies in the oil and gas industry, we have felt the impact of the severe downturn in commodity prices, which has only worsened with the COVID-19 pandemic”, Unit Corporation President and CEO David Merrill said in the statement.

Merrill emphasized the need for the company to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to fund “debt obligations (of) more than $650 million and right-size the company’s balance sheet for go-forward operations”. Merrill added that he expected Unit Corporation to emerge from the process “with a $180 million exit financing facility”.

Unit Corporation said in the statement that it expected to continue operating regularly through the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process without material disruption to its vendors, customers, or partners.

Over the past two months, Whiting Petroleum and Diamond Offshore Drilling also filed for bankruptcy as a result of the measures implemented to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Global oil prices fell as much as 75 percent on the year at the height of demand disruptions caused by the novel coronavirus measures. US crude prices even reached sub-zero levels briefly last month before beginning a sharp recovery. They trade at just under $35 per barrel now, still down 45 percent on the year.