ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A debt-laden natural gas drilling company that had counted on tapping the riches of New York's part of the Marcellus Shale filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today while the state's 4-year-old moratorium on hydrofracking remains in place.
Norse Energy Corp., based in Oslo, Norway, said that its U.S. subsidiary had filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 reorganization.
Norse has 130,000 acres under lease for gas drilling in New York state. But the state Department of Environmental Conservation has had a moratorium on drilling permits since it launched an environmental impact review in 2008.
The DEC is developing new regulations for fracking, or high-volume hydraulic fracturing, a controversial technology used to free gas from shale.
"It isn't just regulatory delays. We had debts incurred outside of New York that we're paying back," said Dennis Holbrook, Norse's Buffalo-based chief legal officer. "But clearly the regulatory delays in New York have had a negative impact on this company."
Norse has been selling off assets, primarily oil and gas leases and some production properties, to pay debts and meet operating expenses.