Berry again owns Piceance assets

Berry Petroleum is again the stand-alone owner of oil and gas assets in western Colorado’s Piceance Basin after a federal judge’s approval of a bankruptcy reorganization also involving its former parent company, Linn Energy LLC.

Houston-based Linn Energy Inc., the successor to Linn Energy LLC, reported this week that it has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization under a plan in which Linn and Berry will operate as standalone companies.

Berry had been a wholly owned subsidiary of Linn and also was part of the bankruptcy proceedings. In 2013, Berry and Linn agreed to a $4.9 billion deal under which Linn would acquire Berry’s assets in multiple states in a merger.

That acquisition included Berry’s Piceance Basin interests, which Berry bought in 2006. As of the time of the merger, Berry had Piceance holdings covering some 10,600 acres north of Parachute. Its local production averaged 16 million cubic feet of natural gas per day as of late 2012.

Berry said in a news release this week that it emerges from the bankruptcy as a well-capitalized privately owned company with holdings in the Piceance Basin, the Uinta Basin in Utah, and Kansas and California, where it is based.

“We remain committed to our current asset base and focused on growth opportunities in surrounding areas, particularly in California,” Berry Chief Executive Officer Trem Smith said in its release.

Linn has done only minimal drilling in the Piceance and isn’t currently operating a rig in the basin.

Linn emerges from the bankruptcy with assets in numerous states, but not Colorado.

It says it reduced debt by more than $5 billion under the reorganization.

Another energy company with Piceance Basin assets filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a month ago. Vanguard Natural Resources LLC cited factors including low oil and gas prices.


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