NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Penn West Petroleum (PWE) stock is gaining by 8.85% to $1.02 on heavy trading volume on Wednesday afternoon, following reports that at least four bids were received for the energy company's Viking light oil assets, according to Reuters.

Raging River Exploration, Crescent Point Energy (CPG), Whitecap Resources (SPGYF) and Teine Energy are among the bidders for the assets, which could be sold for more than $395 million, sources told Reuters.

Penn West, which is selling the assets that produce nearly 20,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, is attempting to lower its debt. Last month, the company warned that it could default on some of its debt by the end of June.

"Penn West continues to pursue multiple avenues to both reduce its absolute debt levels and to negotiate with its lenders to amend its financial covenants," a Penn West spokesman told Reuters.

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So far today, 2.91 million shares of Penn West have been traded, compared with its average daily volume of 1.64 million shares.

Separately, Penn West Petroleum has a "sell" rating and a letter grade of D- at TheStreet Ratings because of the company's disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow, disappointing stock performance and generally high debt management risk.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: PWE

TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this article's author.

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