US-based independent oil and natural gas exploration and production firm, Goodrich Petroleum has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US in an effort to strengthen its balance sheet amid slump in commodities markets.

Through the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing with the Southern District of Texas, the exploration and production company and its subsidiary plan to reduce its debt of $400m from its balance sheet.

The bankruptcy protection follows a restructuring support agreement signed by the company earlier with a majority of its second lien noteholders on the terms of a debt-for-equity swap.

Goodrich said in a statement: "Trough the Chapter 11 restructuring, the Company will eliminate approximately $400 million in debt from its balance sheet, substantially deleverage its capital structure and strategically position the Company for long-term performance in an anticipated improving commodity price environment."

The company anticipates that the RSA to strengthen its financial position by reducing long-term debt and enhancing financial flexibility.

Goodrich intends to continue its operations while maintaining sufficient liquidity and support the business in the ordinary course during the financial restructuring process.

The announcement comes after US oil and gas producer Energy XXI filed for bankruptcy protection in the US to strengthen its balance sheet and reduce debt of more than $2.8bn amid plunging oil price.

Goodrich Petroleum is engaged in the exploitation, development and production of crude oil and natural gas mainly in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale in Eastern Louisiana and Southwestern Mississippi, the oil-window of the Eagle Ford Shale trend in South Texas and the Haynesville Shale in Northeast Texas and Northwest Louisiana.