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Whiting collapse is shape of things to come

The Denver-based shale company’s bankruptcy notice is likely to be the first of many among US producers

The collapse of the Opec+ agreement and the demand destruction caused by the Covid-19 pandemic looks set to push many US oil and gas producers over the edge in the coming weeks and months. Benchmark WTI crude was trading c.$20/bl in early April, below production costs at most US shale wells. As a result, the industry is likely to be hit by a wave of bankruptcies. Denver-based Whiting Petroleum has been the first to go under, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on 1 April, just days after drawing down $650mn from its credit facility. The company announced on 16 March that it was slashing capex for 2020 by 30pc, with spending falling from $585-620mn as planned in February’s budget to a revised

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