Fitch Ratings changed BP’s credit-ratings outlook from stable to negative yesterday, citing impending environmental fines for the Deepwater Horizon disaster and persistently low crude prices that could weigh heavily on the company’s bottom line in the coming years. A major factor in the downgrade was the uncertainty surrounding what BP’s fines will be and the very real potential for such fines to push them into the red. A federal judge in New Orleans can hand down a maximum of $13.7 billion in fines. According to a FuelFix report, BP has only set aside about $3.5 billion. BP’s actual rating with Fitch remains an ‘A,’ primarily because BP has enough cash to start making payments in expected installments.
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