The deadline for final bids for crashed oil and gas operator Oilexco North Sea (ONS) passed yesterday, with restructuring experts giving nothing away about the progress of the selloff.
A spokeswoman for professional services company Ernst and Young (E&Y), which was appointed as administrator on January 7, said an announcement was likely some time next week.
Canadian firm Oilexco revealed on Hogmanay that its ONS subsidiary intended to file petitions for administration “as soon as reasonably practicable”.
It added it had run out of options after bankers refused to give more funding.
To date, secured and unsecured debts of ONS total more than £600million but this is expected to rise as some claims have yet to come in and it is thought these are likely to be substantial.
E&Y told creditors at a meeting in Aberdeen last week that raising enough cash from the sale of ONS and its assets to cover all of the firm’s debts would be a considerable challenge.
The value of the assets has been estimated at £845million but in the current economic climate the business could end up being sold for a lot less.
E&Y has already warned unsecured creditors, owed sums up to £15mllion, not to expect any money back at a sale price of less than £586million.
Rivals BG Group, Talisman Energy, Petro-Canada and Maersk Oil have all been linked in the media with possible offers for the North Sea business.
It is thought that the chief executive of Oilexco, Arthur Millholland, was also bidding for assets, while other interested parties could include Abu Dhabi national energy firm TAQA.