Two of the biggest players in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale, an oil-rich formation that covers Louisiana’s midsection, are also among the publicly traded drilling companies carrying the most debt.
A story in The Wall Street Journal shows Goodrich Petroleum and Halcon Resources have debt-to-EBITDA ratios of 5 and 4.3, respectively. EBITDA is earnings before income tax, depreciation and amortization, a measure of profit.
According to Investopedia, the measure also gives investors an idea of how much money the company might generate before it is forced to make payments to creditors and to pay taxes.
The Journal article says American energy companies are heavily in debt and have to keep drilling in order to cover their borrowings.
U.S. energy companies owe $199.3 billion, a 55 percent increase since 2010, and some firms may not be able to continue making their payments.
“The group is not positioned for this downturn,” Daniel Katzenberg, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co., told the Journal. “There are too many ugly balance sheets.”