Evidence of corporate distress is mounting. Chesapeake Energy Corp., once in the vanguard of U.S. frackers, is unprofitable and struggling with more than $9 billion of debt. It warned in November it may go bust. EQT Corp., the largest domestic gas producer, said last week it will take an impairment of up to $1.8 billion for the fourth quarter, due in part to low prices.
Even the global energy giants aren’t immune. Chevron Corp. said last month it expects a writedown of more than $11 billion, more that half of that attributable to its Appalachian gas assets.