Oil firms in the US who operate in deep-water have been particularly badly hit in this year’s energy bankruptcies.
Speaking to Reuters, energy law firm Haynes and Boone claim that the industry move toward lower-cost shale, and away from deep-water drilling projects, is mostly responsible.
While a smaller number of oil firms sought protection in 2017 than 2016, those that did had substantially larger debts.
In October, 44 oilfield service firms in the US and Canada filed for bankruptcy with debt totaling $24.8billion.
In 2016, while the number of companies totaled 72 the combined debt was $13.48 for the whole year.
Speaking to Reuters Ian Peck, chairman of Haynes and Boone’s restructuring practice group, said: “If you’re going to get $50 barrel oil you want the cheapest way of getting that barrel and offshore isn’t it.”
Haynes and Boone’s survey also reported that energy bankruptcies in the US had seen a sharp reduction in terms of oil and gas producers.
2016 saw 70 filings in oil and gas production while this year has only seen 20 thus far.