Roughly 100 North American oil and gas companies have filed for bankruptcy since the start of a two-year oil price rout, and the industry may be only halfway done, according to restructuring specialists.
The crude glut has persisted longer than many thought, and the prolonged oversupply has kept prices stuck in the $40 to $50 range for much of the year. U.S.-traded West Texas Intermediate crude jumped more than 5 percent on Wednesday after OPEC reportedly reached a deal to limit production, but by and large, there has been little reprieve for drillers and service companies on the edge.
In its latest forecast, the International Energy Agency said the crude market will take longer to rebalance than it previously thought.
All this comes as oil hedges have rolled off, leaving many exploration and production companies exposed to low prices. Earlier in the cycle, hedging allowed producers to sell their product at a higher price they'd locked in before crude tanked.