A Healthy Flow in Europe's Oil Patch
The 2005 preliminary financial results of Europe's oil and gas companies have been without surprises: Results were solid and financial flexibility ample. Standard & Poor's took several positive rating actions in 2005, including the upgrade of European refiner Preem to BB-, and various upgrades and outlook revisions to positive on the Russian majors (TNK-BP, BB; LUKoil OAO, BB; and OAO Gazprom, BB+). No exploration and production (E&P) or vertically integrated majors were upgraded, and the ratings on Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) (AA) were lowered in February, 2005 for the second time in less than a year, owing to reserve revisions.
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