Tight equity market forces up debt loads for US E&P firms

Despite today's strong oil and natural gas prices, many US independent oil and gas companies still are having trouble raising equity and are being forced to borrow money to finance exploration projects and property acquisitions."It reminds me of 1973-74. That's the last time I remember when the economics were as good as they are, and the (equity) markets were as bad as they are," said Bruce Lazier, principal and petroleum investment analyst of Ispyoil LLC in Dallas. "The small equity market is cursed." Merrill Lynch analyst John HerrlinClick here to enlarge imageJohn Herrlin, analyst with Merrill Lynch, said most exploration and production company stocks are near or above the sto...

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