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Distressed Oil & Gas

Distressed Oil & Gas
Distressed Oil & Gas
Expertise / Practices / Restructuring & Insolvency / Distressed Oil & Gas

The North American energy industry continues to face significant financial distress as a result of fluctuating commodity prices and challenging petroleum industry economics. The resulting wave of insolvencies and consolidations has fundamentally reshaped the traditional oil and gas landscape.

The Blakes Restructuring & Insolvency group has broad experience in distressed oil and gas workouts and restructurings, including under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA), the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA), the Canada Business Corporations Act (CBCA), restructuring of debt under provincial corporate statutes and cross-border recognition of Chapter 11 proceedings under the United States Bankruptcy Code. Our Oil & Gas insolvency lawyers have advised corporate debtors, Canadian and U.S. banks and financial institutions, restructuring financial advisory firms that act as court officers, investors and other stakeholders in virtually every major Canadian and cross-border insolvency proceeding in this industry in the last 10 years.

Our Restructuring & Insolvency lawyers are recognized leaders within Canada and internationally for their expertise in domestic and cross-border insolvency matters. Our national team also works collaboratively with U.S. and international law firms on multi-jurisdictional matters to ensure our common clients receive the highest quality of service in a timely, efficient and cost-effective manner. Through creative problem-solving, we identify strategic solutions and maximize value for our clients as they navigate complex restructuring matters.

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Recent Experience
  • Bellatrix CBCA and CCAA Proceedings – Counsel to the senior lenders throughout both the CBCA and CCAA proceedings of Bellatrix Exploration Ltd., including ensuring that the senior lenders were not implicated in the CBCA court proceedings and advancing support for sale approval, notwithstanding, the objections of the second-lien noteholders.

  • Jupiter Plan of Arrangement – Counsel to Jupiter Resources Inc. and certain of its affiliates in a plan of arrangement pursuant to the CBCA, involving the applicants with support from holders of approximately 85 per cent of senior unsecured notes (Notes) issued by Jupiter pursuant to the indenture governing the Notes. The effect of the arrangement was the elimination of the principal amount of Jupiter’s Notes by US$1.1-billion and the associated annual cash interest payments of US$93.5-million.

  • Lightstream CBCA and CCAA Proceedings – Counsel to Lightstream Resources Inc. in its CBCA and CCAA proceedings that involved the reorganization of approximately C$1.3-billion of debt, including conversion of approximately C$850-million of secured notes into equity of a newly formed acquisition vehicle. The proceedings also involved the successful defence against certain holders of unsecured bonds who sought to have their unsecured claims recognized as secured claims based on allegations of oppression, breach of contract and misrepresentation by utilizing a novel procedure for determination of certain threshold issues.

  • CHC Helicopter Restructuring – Counsel to CHC Helicopter Group, a global group of companies delivering helicopter services, maintenance and repair to a wide range of customers, particularly related to offshore oil expansion and production, in its cross-border (Chapter 11/CCAA) restructuring proceedings. Blakes assisted CHC with its Canadian recognition proceedings and related Canadian legal issues.

  •  Redwater ReceivershipATB Financial, the senior secured lender, at all levels of court in the precedent-setting receivership proceeding of Redwater Energy Corporation, a junior oil and gas producer, including at the Alberta Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.

  •  Sanjel Restructuring – Canadian counsel to the lending syndicate in the cross-border (CCAA/Chapter 15) restructuring proceedings of the Sanjel Group, a privately owned oilfield services group. Successful negotiations between the parties resulted in the sale of two key business units of the debtor within four weeks of the initial CCAA order over objections from subordinate creditors in both the Canadian and U.S. proceedings.

  • CGG Restructuring – Counsel to the CGG Group, global providers of geophysical and geoscience services to the oil and gas industry, in their multinational restructuring in France (Sauvegarde), the U.S. (Chapter 11) and Canada (CCAA) of more than US$2-billion of debt. Blakes assisted certain Canadian members of the CGG Group with recognition of the Chapter 11 proceedings and enforcement of the U.S. plan of arrangement in Canada.

  • Tervita Plan of Arrangement – Counsel to a syndicate of investment dealers that provided US$360-million of exit financing to Tervita Corporation, a leading environmental solutions provider in the oil and gas industry. Tervita implemented its court-approved plan of arrangement pursuant to the CBCA to effect a recapitalization transaction that resulted in a reduction of Tervita’s total debt from approximately US$3.6-billion to approximately US$475-million. The transaction was recognized by The M&A Advisor as 2017 Energy Deal of the Year (Over $1B).

  • Twin Butte BCA and Receivership Proceedings – Counsel to the lending syndicate in the Alberta Business Corporations Act proceedings and receivership proceedings of Twin Butte Energy Ltd., an intermediate oil and gas company. After Twin Butte’s failure to obtain support from its debenture holders for a corporate plan of arrangement, Blakes, on behalf of the lending syndicate, applied for the appointment of a receiver over all of the assets of Twin Butte, which resulted in a sale process that provided increased recoveries for all creditors.

  • Laricina CCAA Proceedings – Counsel to the senior secured lender in the CCAA proceedings of Laricina Energy Ltd., a junior oil sands exploration and production company. Blakes assisted the secured lender with securing a payout of Laricina’s cash on hand in partial satisfaction of its outstanding debt and approval and implementation of a settlement agreement negotiated with Laricina to resolve its near-term financial distress.

  • Spyglass Receivership – Counsel to the lending syndicate in the receivership proceedings of Spyglass Resources Corp. and its subsidiaries, junior oil and gas producers. As a result of Spyglass’ inability to negotiate an out-of-court solution to its ongoing financial difficulties, Blakes brought an application on behalf of the lending syndicate to appoint a receiver over Spyglass, despite Spyglass not yet being in default under its credit agreement with the lending syndicate.

Awards & Recognition

Members of our Distressed Oil & Gas group are recognized as leaders in the most recent editions of the following prominent national and international industry directories and rankings:

  • Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business

  • Chambers Canada: Canada’s Leading Lawyers for Business

  • IFLR1000: The Guide to the World’s Leading Financial and Corporate Law Firms

  • The Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Corporate Lawyers in Canada

  • The Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Litigation Lawyers in Canada

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory

  • Who’s Who Legal

  • Legal Media Group’s Guide to the World’s Leading Lawyers in Banking, Finance and Transactional Law

  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada

  • The Legal 500 Canada