With one-sixth of major independent oil and gas producers facing debt payments that are more than 20 percent of their revenue, austerity has replaced the swagger that characterized the earliest days of the oil bust. Contracts that locked in higher prices are expiring, leading banks to reduce credit lines in coming months. Drillers caught in the squeeze may be forced to auction off some of their best holdings to raise cash or accept more expensive financing to avoid bankruptcy, according to more than a dozen bankers, lawyers and company officials who specialize in energy deals.

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