Sharp Rise in Energy Loans

Sharp Rise in Energy LoansSharp Rise in Energy Loans

JPMorgan Chase disclosed on Friday its "criticized" loans to the oil and gas industry more than doubled in the first three months of the year.

Criticized oil and gas loans, which are defined by regulators as doubtful, substandard or deserving of special mention, rose to $9.7 billion at the end of March from $4.5 billion at the end of December, according to a quarterly filing the company made with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, CNBC reported.

Of the criticized loans, $8 billion were still performing, according to the filing.

The change in criticized status comes as JPMorgan and other banks have added to reserves for possible loan losses because of the impact on sharply lower oil revenue on the ability of borrowers in the shale oil industry to repay their debts.

The American financial services company said its total exposure to oil and gas and natural gas pipeline industries had risen $1.5 billion to $47.9 billion, or 5.8% of total wholesale loans and commitments to lend.

The company said earlier this month that it had attractive opportunities to make additional loans to the industry.

Oil companies have turned to multibillion dollar loans to survive in a world grappling with stubbornly cheap oil.

Oil traded at a high of $115 per barrel in mid-2014, but plummeted to $27 a barrel—its lowest level in more than a decade—before recovering to above $40 in recent weeks.