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World’s Largest Offshore Rig Owner Valaris Goes Bankrupt

Valaris Plc became the latest casualty of the global slump in oil prices, filing for bankruptcy Aug. 19 as the world’s largest offshore rig owner by fleet size seeks to restructure a roughly $7 billion debt load. “The substantial downturn in the energy sector, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, requires that we take this step to create a stronger company able to adapt to the prolonged contraction in the industry,” Valaris CEO Tom Burke said in the statement.

The offshore industry has struggled since oil prices plunged to less than $30 a barrel in 2016 after reaching more than $100 in mid-2014. While newer deepwater projects are less expensive, they still take longer to develop than land-based shale wells and typically are more costly, leaving them at a disadvantage as crude plummeted further earlier this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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