During the past three years, more than 116 U.S. E&Ps made the march to the courthouse’s financial gallows since 2015.

Many left after having traded equity in their companies to lenders.

While E&P balance sheets are now able to service their debt and pay lease operating expenses, “probably in many cases [they] have inadequate capital to perform capex,” said Charles Beckham, a partner in Haynes and Boone’s restructuring practice.

“Any E&P company that is not putting money back into the ground is liquidating,” he said.

Through the end of October, the pace of 2017’s bankruptcies had slackened considerably. About 20 E&Ps filed for bankruptcy protection—a far cry from the 70 companies that buckled under the weight of crushing oil prices in 2016, according to a report by law firm Haynes and Boone LLP.

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