High costs, low oil prices increasing financial risks for deepwater drillers

WORLD OIL | Offshore oil servicers are going bust at the fastest pace in three years as explorers spurn high-cost drilling to deal with a worldwide slump in commodity prices.


The debacle, triggered by the pandemic-driven drop in oil prices, has already claimed some of the biggest companies that supply rigs, transportation and other support services to deep-water drillers. Noble Corp. and Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. have filed for Chapter 11 since the start of the pandemic-driven oil downturn, while Valaris Plc has warned it may end up in bankruptcy “imminently.”


Firms including Transocean Ltd. -- the world’s the world’s biggest owner of deep-water oil rigs -- along with Seadrill Ltd. and Pacific Drilling SA are exploring strategic options as they seek to stave off default, leaving more than $30 billion of debt at risk. The industry’s turmoil has sparked the biggest wave of restructurings since 2017, when the effects of the last oil price downturn reverberated through the industry.


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