02/20/2015 09:33 EST | Updated 04/22/2015 05:59 EDT

Ivanhoe Energy seeks court protection from creditors, stock trading suspended

VANCOUVER - Ivanhoe Energy Inc. (TSX:IE) stock has been suspended as the company works to renegotiate its debt obligations and sell assets under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.

The company, which has been focused on developing and using a proprietary upgrading process for heavy oil, said Friday that it's seeking a 30-day court order to protect it from creditors. Ernst & Young has been appointed trustee.

The TSX said shortly after the announcement that Ivanhoe Energy's stock listing is under review and trading has been suspended.

Ivanhoe Energy is one of several companies that have been backed by Robert Friedland, a mining promoter who has played key roles in developing the Voisey's Bay nickel deposit in Labrador and the Oyu Tolgoi copper and gold deposit in Mongolia.

Most recently, Friedland provided a C$3-million secured bridge loan to be used for Ivanhoe Energy's severance payments in Ecuador and for debts to suppliers of other companies controlled by Friedland.