Ultra Petroleum Trying to Force Debtholders to Deal re Bankruptcy

Ultra PetroleumUltra Petroleum, based in Houston, TX, is an independent exploration and production (E&P) company mainly focused on drilling in the Green River Basin of Wyoming. Ultra also drills for oil in the Uinta Basin/Three Rivers area in Utah. In addition, Ultra maintains a position in the Pennsylvania Marcellus shale with leases on 184,000 gross (91,000 net) acres–no small amount. They aren’t currently drilling on their Marcellus acreage, but if prices change, they likely would. That is, if they make it through bankruptcy. At the end of April Ultra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (see Ultra Petroleum (with 184K Marcellus Acres) Files for Bankruptcy). Shareholders tried to get an official equity committee approved to protect their interest (see Update on Ultra Petroleum Bankruptcy). That effort failed–the trustee denied the motion. So equity holders (stockholders), with the aid of Ultra’s management (who happen to be stockholders themselves) have adopted a new strategy: wait them out. Management has asked for an extension to file their bankruptcy plan, which would put a plan filing date out to next spring. It seems that management is using time against debtholders as a tactic to force them to the table to deal…

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