The only surprise would be is if anyone is surprised. From Bradley Olson at bloomberg.com:
Prized assets are going on the market after 50% oil decline
One in eight junk-rated energy firms risking default: Moody’s
A renewed plunge in oil prices and the winding down of other financial lifelines is forcing shale drillers to auction off once-prized assets and settle for less in potential deals.
This week, companies such as Chesapeake Energy Corp. said they are embracing the strategy as they confront the reality of a prolonged, painful crash. While executives have assured investors that it won’t be a fire sale, recent deals suggest that prices have fallen significantly from even a few months ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
With one-sixth of major independent oil and gas producers facing debt payments that are more than 20 percent of their revenue, austerity has replaced the swagger that characterized the earliest days of the oil bust. Contracts that locked in higher prices are expiring, leading banks to reduce credit lines in coming months. Drillers caught in the squeeze may be forced to auction off some of their best holdings to raise cash or accept more expensive financing to avoid bankruptcy, according to more than a dozen bankers, lawyers and company officials who specialize in energy deals.
To continue reading: Shale Drillers Turn to Asset Sales