February 9, 2016 / 12:41 PM / in 3 years

Warren Resources may file for bankruptcy if debt talks fail

(Reuters) - Oil and gas producer Warren Resources Inc WRES.O warned it would have to seek bankruptcy protection if talks to reach a debt restructuring agreement fails.

Warren, which on Tuesday also cut its 2016 revenue and production forecasts, had deferred a $7.5 million semi-annual interest payment that was due on Feb. 1 to reach a deal with its creditors.

The company has a 30-day grace period for negotiations with noteholders, since deferring interest payment on Feb. 1.

Several oil producers, whose cash flows have been squeezed by a 70 percent fall in oil prices since June 2014, are in talks with creditors to defer payments and improve liquidity.

“These are very difficult times for Warren and its industry peers,” Chief Executive James Watt said in a statement, adding that the company needed further concessions from debt holders and vendors to survive a prolonged downturn in oil prices.

Warren, which has tapped Jefferies LLC to help with a potential restructuring, forecast total revenue to fall 31.7 percent to $61.1 million in 2016, from a year earlier.

The company said it expects oil production to fall about 18 percent and natural gas production to decline about 20 percent this year.

Warren’s first lien creditors held $235 million in principal, second lien creditors $51 million and investors $167 million in unsecured senior notes, as of Dec. 31.

The company had $26.8 million in cash at the end of 2015, Warren said on Tuesday.

Reporting by Amrutha Gayathri in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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