TAFT, Calif., Sept. 17, 2001 — Berry Petroleum Company announced today that it has assigned all of its rights, title and interest in its $12.1 million past due receivable from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) to an undisclosed buyer for $9.3 million.
For the first quarter of 2001, the Company wrote off $3 million, or 25%, of the $12.1 million electricity receivable as a result of PG&E’s bankruptcy filing on April 6, 2001 and the uncertainty involved in collecting the full amount.
Ralph Goehring, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, stated, “In consummating this transaction, management has reduced the Company’s exposure to one of the two large outstanding receivables which resulted from the energy crisis. This action results in the recovery of all of the receivable from PG&E remaining on the Company’s books and a gain of $.2 million to be booked in the third quarter. The assignment of this receivable eliminates the uncertainties of collectibility and the timing of any collections associated with our `general unsecured creditor’ status. We intend to use these funds for the accelerated development of our properties, debt reduction and/or acquisitions.”
Two weeks ago Berry collected $2 million from Southern California Edison Company (Edison). Edison owes Berry $13.5 million and is paying interest on the overdue receivable on a monthly basis. To date the Company has collected over half of the $20 million owed (net of write-off) by both utilities on receivables from electricity sales occurring from November 2000 through April 2001.
Berry Petroleum Company is shocked and saddened by the recent tragic events in New York and Washington, D.C. and extends its condolences to all who suffered personal loss. Berry believes that it can best contribute to the nation’s recovery from this tragedy by concentrating on normal business activities, most especially Berry’s ongoing production of a secure and ample fuel supply for our country in conjunction with the efforts of other domestic producers of crude oil and natural gas.
Berry Petroleum Company is a publicly traded independent oil and gas production company with three cogeneration facilities providing nearly 34,000 barrels per day of steam for use in its enhanced oil recovery operations and 100 megawatts of electrical capacity.