The number of bankruptcies filed by overleveraged energy companies declined in the past two years, but debt levels still remain high, according to a recent report by law firm Haynes and Boone.

While some oil and gas producers have restructured their debt to avoid filing, others have not fared so well. In 2018, 29 exploration and production companies filed for bankruptcy, a slight uptick from the 24 E&P bankruptcy filings a year before, the Haynes and Boone report said. The highest group of bankruptcies hit the oil and gas industry in 2015 and 2016 when more than 100 E&Ps filed for Chapter 11.

As for the New Year, the outlook remains murky after crude oil prices took a hit in the fourth quarter dropping by 30% during October.

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