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Geokinetics Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in Delaware

March 11 (Bloomberg) -- Geokinetics Inc., a provider of seismic data for oil and gas companies, filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors, citing losses from project delays and lawsuits over four storm-related deaths in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Houston-based company, with offices in 29 countries, listed assets of $12.1 million and liabilities of $351 million in a Chapter 11 petition filed yesterday in Wilmington, Delaware.

Geokinetics also filed a so-called pre-packaged reorganization plan that it said will “create financial stability for the company’s future operation.” Creditors who were entitled to vote on the plan approved it “overwhelmingly” in a ballot completed March 8, it said.

In January, the company said it reached an agreement with holders of more than 70 percent of secured notes, under which the noteholders would convert $300 million of debt to equity.

Geokinetics, founded in 1980, missed a $14.6 million interest payment due Dec. 15 on the secured notes.

A message seeking comment left today at the company’s headquarters wasn’t immediately returned. A woman who answered the phone and declined to identify herself said the company didn’t plan to comment on the bankruptcy filing.

The storm-related deaths occurred in the Gulf of Mexico’s Bay of Campeche during Tropical Storm Nate, which formed around Sept. 8, 2011, according to bankruptcy court papers.

Men Adrift

A vessel contracted to Geokinetics had to be abandoned after sustaining damage, resulting in about 10 men’s being adrift for three days, according to court papers in lawsuits against the company.

Lawsuits, including a wrongful-death complaint, were filed in federal court in Louisiana and in a county court in Texas by survivors and family members of those who died. The cases were settled, with Geokinetics’ costs being covered by insurance, according to the bankruptcy filing.

During the storm, Geokinetics was doing seismic work for Petroleos Mexicanos, the world’s fourth-largest crude producer.

The case is In re Geokinetics Inc., 13-10472, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

To contact the reporters on this story: Erik Larson in New York at elarson4@bloomberg.net; Joe Schneider in Sydney at jschneider5@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net.

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