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S&P downgrades Shell given high debt level, low commodity prices

Lowoil and gas prices have driven another supermajor oil and gas company's creditrating down, as S&P Global Ratings on July 12 dropped 's long-termcorporate credit ratings to A from A+, reflecting anticipated below-levelcredit metrics and discretionary cash flow through 2017.

Shellis the second largest of the supermajors, behind , which its AAA credit rating fromS&P in April.

Theoutlook for Shell is stable, due to an expected material improvement in thecompany's credit metrics in 2017, S&P said.

"[D]espitemanagement's commitment to reduce debt after the $54 billion of , Shell's credit metricsand discretionary cash flow will remain materially below levels commensuratewith the previous A+ rating in 2016 and 2017, as we expect continuing low oiland gas prices," S&P said. "We assume that Shell's ratio of fundsfrom operations to debt will improve from a very weak 20% in 2016 to about 30%in 2017, but will remain materially below the 40%-45% level that we see as aminimum for an A+ rating."

Therating agency also affirmed the A-1 short-term corporate credit rating on Shelland downgraded ratings on Shell's subsidiaries, including BG Energy Holdings,by one notch.

S&P Global Ratings andS&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.