ATP equity holder ask for probe of oil reserves’ value

ATP Oil & Gas Corp.’s equity holders asked a judge to appoint an examiner to investigate the value of the bankrupt Gulf of Mexico oil producer’s petroleum reserves.

An examiner is needed to determine whether the reserves have fallen so far in value that ATP should be sold in a “fire- sale liquidation,” a committee of equity security holders said yesterday in court papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston. A report by ATP’s bankruptcy lenders claims the reserves are worth much less than previously estimated, the committee said.

If the report is flawed, “there is no basis for forcing the liquidation,” the committee said. If the Houston-based company’s original estimates were materially misleading, ATP may be able to sue its officers, the committee said.

ATP filed for bankruptcy Aug. 17, blaming its insolvency on the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico and the drilling moratorium that followed.

The company operates about 90 percent of its wells in the gulf, and the moratorium blocked plans to drill and bring online six wells in 2010 and 2011, according to a court filing.

ATP’s 11.875 coupon bonds that are due in 2015 fell 2 percent to 8.9 cents on the dollar, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The case is In re ATP Oil & Gas Corp., 12-36187, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Texas (Houston).