Lafayette-based PetroQuest Energy filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday, citing a reorganization plan to eliminate $204.5 million in debt.

The Gulf Coast and offshore oil and gas company, 400 E. Kaliste Saloom Road, Suite 6000, announced it filed for Chapter 11 and will enter into a restructuring support agreement to reduce its debt and related interest in filing for bankruptcy.

PetroQuest will continue to operate as usual through the process, said President and CEO Charles Goodson, and will honor its commitments to employees, royalty owners and partners.

“The restructuring support agreement and associated actions announced today begin a rebuilding process and new era for our company and our stakeholders because they allow us to definitely address the financial challenges that have made it difficult for us to compete,” Goodson said in a statement.

“These steps will allow us to resume investments in growth, most notably to develop our Cotton Valley assets in east Texas as well as our onshore assets in central and south Louisiana.”

The company was pummeled in recent years by low oil prices, like other energy companies. In early May, the New York Stock Exchange delisted PetroQuest because its market capitalization fell below $15 million for a 30-day period.

The company in recent months had been granted a grace period on several occasions to pay its overdue debt after choosing not to make a $14.2 million interest payment in August to preserve liquidity.

The bankruptcy filing comes just days after PetroQuest posted a third-quarter loss of $5 million, or 19 cents per share, compared to a $3.1 million, or 15 cents per share, loss a year ago.

For the first nine months of 2018, the company reported a loss of $9.8 million, or 38 cents per share, compared to a loss of $11.4 million, or 54 cents per share, for the same 2017 period.

Oil and gas sales during the third quarter were $20.8 million, compared to $28.2 million in the third quarter of 2017. For the first nine months of 2018, oil and gas sales were $67.3 millions compared to $73.2 million for the first nine months of 2017.

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