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NY gas driller Norse Energy files for Chapter 11

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm •  Published: December 7, 2012

Norse's fortunes have been sinking rapidly over the past couple of years. It has reduced its New York workforce from about 60 to six people and sold off some of its leasehold and pipeline right-of-way in an attempt to reduce costs and raise cash. In May, Norse announced it was moving its headquarters from Buffalo to Houston, where it had offices. Holbrook and a handful of others remain in Buffalo.

In November, the company said it had $1.5 million in cash, enough to fund its obligations only into December. Then, a New York court ordered Norse to place $7.6 million in an escrow account in a ruling in an ongoing dispute with Buffalo-based Bradford Drilling Associates.

Holbrook said the company ultimately would like to reorganize and attract a qualified industry partner to develop its lease acreage in the Southern Tier, assuming Gov. Andrew Cuomo decides to allow shale gas drilling. A decision may come by the end of February, when new regulations are due to be completed.

"I may be in the minority but I do believe there's light at the end of the tunnel," Holbrook said. "I believe New York is going to allow permitting to move forward."