Anadarko may dodge a ratings bullet with BP settlement

One could probably hear the sigh of relief from outside Anadarko Petroleum’s headquarters in The Woodlands on Monday when the company said it would pay BP $4 billion to settle its liabilitiesaround the clean-up following the Deepwater Horizon accident.

Anadarko’s 25 percent stake in the well could have stuck the booming E&P with a hefty piece of the clean-up bill and exposure to even more payments in the future. The deal puts a ceiling on the largest piece of the bill, but still leaves Andarko exposed to some future civil, criminal and administrative fines that could be as much as $1.85 billion. 

The settlement is good news for Anadarko’s credit rating, which Moody’s said it it will review for an upgrade:

“This settlement amount is materially less than our loss assumption of up to $8 billion incorporated into our Ba1 ratings for Anadarko,” said Pete Speer, Moody’s Vice President. “Our ratings review will focus on the extent of the company’s residual liability exposures related to the Deepwater Horizon event and the potential for continued improvement in its fundamental credit profile in 2012.”

Shares of Anadarko were trading up 2.42 percent, or $1.81, on Tuesday morning.