Unsecured non-preferential creditors of oil company Oilexco North Sea (ONS) may not get any of their money back, it emerged yesterday.
Dozens of these creditors are due a total of more than £130million from the firm, which went into administration last month.
Many of them are leading names in the oil and gas industry.
To date, secured and unsecured debts of ONS total more than £600million.
Debts secured by floating charges come to just under £479million, with the Royal Bank of Scotland due the most – more than £168million.
National Australia Bank is due just over £49million, while Barclays and Bank of Scotland are both owed £34million.
However, the level of debts is expected to rise as a number of claims have yet to come in and these are likely to be substantial, according to a source.
He added: “There has also been no provision made for the expenses of the administration.”
Administrator Ernst & Young told creditors at a meeting in Aberdeen yesterday that raising enough cash from the sale of ONS and its assets to cover the firm’s substantial debts would be a considerable challenge.
A threshold was set of £586million – just two-thirds of their book value – below which unsecured creditors would have virtually no chance of getting any money back.
Around 70 people attended the meeting at Menzies Dyce Aberdeen Airport Hotel.
The P&J was not allowed in, with creditors being told any media presence would be prejudicial to the asset-disposal process.
Roy Bailey, one of four joint administrators appointed on January 7, was unavailable for comment.
An E&Y spokeswoman said later: “The main aim and priority remains the successful sale of the business.”
ONS collapsed into administration last month after bankers refused to give further funding.
The news left a questionmark over the future of about 100 ONS staff in Aberdeen and offshore.
Among the unsecured creditors is Transocean Offshore, which is due more than £15million.
Others on the list include Framo Engineering (£11.2million), Diamond Offshore Drilling (£7.2million), Schlumberger Offshore (nearly £4.9million), Aker Kvaerner Offshore (£3.1million), BlueWater Energy (£2.2million) and Technip Offshore (£2.1million).
Also owed more than £1million are Island Offshore Management, Sevan Marine, Ikon Science, Well Ops (UK) and Harms Offshore.
Transocean, Diamond and Sevan are all represented on a creditors’ committee formed yesterday.
It has been reported that five bidders have made offers for different parts of ONS, with final bids due on Friday, March 6.
Rivals BG Group, Talisman Energy, Petro-Canada and Maersk Oil have all been linked in the media with possible offers. It is thought the chief executive of Canada-based ONS parent Oilexco is also bidding for assets, while other interested parties could include Abu Dhabi national energy firm TAQA.