A growing number of energy firms are at risk of filing for bankruptcy this year as debt pressure mounts, Deloitte's John England said Tuesday.
Nearly 35 percent of publicly traded oil and gas exploration and production companies around the world — about 175 firms — are at high risk of falling into bankruptcy, the auditing and consulting firm reported. Not only do these companies have high debt levels, but their ability to pay interest on those loans has deteriorated, according to the firm.
"Clearly, this is the year of hard decisions I think for a lot of these companies. They were kind of sheltered in 2015 through hedges and some access to equity and debt markets," England, Deloitte's U.S. oil and gas leader, told CNBC's "Fast Money: Halftime Report."
Those tough choices include selling assets that are core to drillers' portfolios, cutting shareholder payouts, laying off more workers, and further slashing capital spending plans, he said.