HOUSTON—The outlook for improving capital access for oil and gas companies in 2020 remains grim as investors will continue to look elsewhere for better returns on their money.

That was a prevailing message given to attendees at the Private Capital Conference hosted recently by the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA). With commodity prices languishing and oil companies having to shift from growth mode to one of living within cash flow, additional investment dollars have become much tougher to come by. Some estimate the number of banks that would even entertain investing in new deals in the market down by half over traditional numbers.

“The last six months or so have been rather difficult,” said Don McKinnerney, managing director for RBC Capital Markets. “We’ve seen some failed syndications, some tough syndications, in the RBL [reserve-based lending] market. For new deals, we think that the bank market right now is about 25 banks that are willing to put capital to work. Historically, the market has been around 50 banks.”

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