A major West Virginia coal company filed for bankruptcy protection this week in federal court.
According to court documents, Revelation Energy LLC and its Blackjewel LLC parent company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of West Virginia. According to the filing, made under the Blackjewel name, the company listed estimated assets of between $10 million and $50 million while listing liabilities with between 200 and 999 creditors. According to the filing, the total estimated liabilities amount to between $100 million and half a billion dollars.
The filing also lists several subsidiaries seeking relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Code. Those included Blackjewel Holdings LLC, Blackjewel LLC, Revelation Energy Holdings LLC and Revelation Management Corporation. According to court documents, the companies are owned by Jeff Hoops and employ about 1,700 employees in Central Appalachia and Wyoming.
Hoops said in court documents that declining demand for coal due to cheaper alternative sources of energy, as well as increased costs associated with several factors, including industry regulation, made the bankruptcy filing necessary.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s 2017 Annual Coal Report, Revelation Energy/Blackjewel was the sixth largest coal producer in the country, producing more than 37 million short tons of coal.
According to court documents, the company owes more than $233.7 million to its 30 creditors with the largest unsecured claims, which is required to be listed in the bankruptcy filing. Those creditors are spread across several states, including Kentucky, West Virginia and Tennessee, and also include a creditor in Germany which is owed nearly $5 million and one in London, England owed nearly $1.8 million, both in “trade” debts. The company, the filing shows, owes more than $60 million, its largest listed debt, to the federal Office of Natural Resources Revenue, as well as more than $37 million in taxes to Campbell County in West Virginia; $10 million in taxes to the state of Wyoming; and $10 million to the federal Department of Revenue.
The company listed several creditors in Kentucky, including three in Pike County. According to the filing, Blackjewel owes CAM Mining LLC in Pikeville a total of $8.75 million in royalties, a debt which is listed as “disputed” by Blackjewel. The company, court documents said, also owes Jones Oil Company in Pikeville nearly $3.8 million and Jones Petroleum Services in Pikeville more than $1.9 million. According to court documents, Blackjewel also owes the Kentucky State Treasurer’s Office more than $6 million.
Blackjewel listed 27 “principal assets” in the fling, with the Pax Surface Mine in Scarbro in Fayette County as its only one in West Virginia. The filing listed several principal assets in Virginia and three in Wyoming. In Kentucky, the company listed assets located in Harlan, Leslie, Letcher and Bell counties.