Calgary-based Gasfrac Energy Services Inc., a developer of waterless hydraulic fracturing technology, is seeking protection from creditors as it attempts a restructuring.
The junior oilfield services operator said Thursday it has begun proceedings under Canada's Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA). Trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange has been halted "until a review is undertaken...regarding the suitability" for listing.
The company, which has attempted to build market share with its technology, has undergone several major management restructuring efforts over the past couple of years; in November it once again indicated it was looking for a buyer (see Shale Daily, Nov. 19, 2014; Sept. 12, 2012).
Gasfrac markets a proprietary gelled liquefied propane gas to stimulate wells during the fracturing process without water. However, the technique is more expensive, and business in North American basins never has been substantial. It also works in overseas basins.
The CCAA filing has resulted from "a combination of continuing negative operating results," the company said, including "limited access at the present time to capital markets for junior issuers such as the corporation," and "reduced industry activity resulting from depressed petroleum and natural gas commodity prices..."
Gasfrac also cited its inability to obtain a suitable buyer for the corporation or its assets following a strategic alternative process set in motion in November. Financial obligations, it said, have left it unable to restructure "in an adequate manner." Following consideration of "all other available alternatives," the board agreed to file for creditor protection.
Primary secured lender PNC Bank Canada Branch has not opposed the action as the parties renegotiate, Gasfrac said.
Under CCAA proceedings, Gasfrac may continue its normal day-to-day business operations. It plans to apply for another court order to sell the business or the assets to create "a plan of compromise or arrangement for all stakeholders..." CIBC World Markets Inc. is expected to continue to be retained in connection with any proposed financing or sale transaction under the CCAA proceedings.