Oil and gas companies have had a tough time over the past year trying to weather the storm of falling oil prices. But the political and financial winds are moving in the wrong direction for the industry, raising more “above ground” problems at a time that they can ill-afford it.
Drilling oil and gas wells requires a lot of money. For companies that have seen their revenues vanish because of collapsing oil prices, access to credit is obviously critically important. But U.S. financial regulators are growing concerned about a pile of energy debt that is deteriorating in quality. A report from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve singled out the oil and gas sector when it concluded that credit risk was rising across the United States.
For example, there is at least $34.2 billion in loans in the banking…
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