Ratings agency Standard and Poor's on Tuesday raised its outlook for British energy group BP to "positive" from "stable," reflecting improved financial health despite huge Gulf of Mexico spill costs.
"Standard & Poor's Rating Services said today that it revised its outlook on UK-domiciled oil and gas major BP plc to positive from stable.
"At the same time, we affirmed our 'A/A-1' long- and short-term corporate credit ratings on the group," the agency said in a statement.
"The outlook revision reflects BP's strengthening financial risk profile, despite continuing material payments arising from the Macondo well oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
"We see the annual payments likely declining over 2012 and 2013, while asset sales and medium-term production growth should help to improve the group's credit metrics," S&P added.
The British oil giant is facing massive compensation costs linked to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused by a blast on the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon platform.
The group has so far raised $24 billion (19.6 billion euros) from disposals to meet its compensation costs -- which is still some way behind a target of $38 billion by the end of next year.
The April 20, 2010 explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon killed 11 workers and spewed 4.9 million barrels (206 million gallons) of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
It took 87 days to cap the runaway Macondo well some 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) below the surface and 50 miles (80 kilometers) off the coast of Louisiana.