Houston: Anadarko Petroleum, the Texas oil company that owns a stake in BP's leaking Gulf of Mexico well, had its senior unsecured rating outlook lowered to negative from stable by Moody's Investors Service.

The change reflects "considerable uncertainty" related to Anadarko's possible share of costs related to the oil spill that followed an April 20 rig explosion, Moody's said Friday in a statement.

The Moody's rating remains Baa3, which is the lowest level of investment grade.

"While Moody's believes that today it is too early to define that impact to Anadarko's financial profile, the negative outlook reflects downward pressure on the Baa3 rating and better positions Moody's to take further ratings actions as events develop possibly even in the near-term," Moody's said in the statement.

Anadarko, based near Houston, said Friday it was keeping its 2010 capital spending plan at $5.3 billion to $5.6 billion.

Reallocating funds

The company said it will consider reallocating money that would have been spent in the Gulf this year to other projects around the world, including onshore developments, because of a US moratorium on deep-water drilling permits.

The company, which owns a 25 per cent stake in the Gulf well, has said it has insurance coverage of about $177.5 million on the project and deductibles of about $15 million. Moody's also said some money may be available from a US spill- liability trust fund.

"While we understand Moody's decision in light of the current uncertainty surrounding this event, we have a strong balance sheet, ample liquidity and resources, and we will not hesitate to take action as needed to protect the company and its financial health," John Christiansen, an Anadarko spokesman, said in an email.

  • $5.6b capital Anadarko plans to spend in 2010
  • 25% stake in Gulf well owned by Anadarko