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Action items: S&P lowers Buckeye Partners' credit outlook; Fitch downgrades OGE

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Action items: S&P lowers Buckeye Partners' credit outlook; Fitch downgrades OGE

S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a periodic rundown of selected ratings actions on U.S. energy companies. The changes, confined to upgrades, downgrades and changes in outlook, are listed by announcement date in reverse chronological order.

Aug. 6

* S&P Global Ratings lowered Buckeye Partners LP's credit outlook to negative from stable, citing the partnership's high leverage and weak distribution coverage as it struggles to maintain investment-grade debt.

Aug. 2

* S&P Global Ratings on Aug. 2 raised the outlook of Exelon Corp. and its subsidiaries to positive from stable, citing expectations that Exelon will maintain its gradual reduction of businesses risk. The rating agency expects less volatile cash flow for the company because 75% of its consolidated EBITDA will be covered by its utility operations and zero-emission credits.

Aug. 1

* Moody's considers Entergy Corp.'s announced sale of the Palisades and Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station nuclear power plants to Holtec International, Inc. credit positive. Moody's also noted that the transaction would eradicate roughly $1.5 billion of decommissioning liabilities that would have dragged down Entergy's finances for decades.

* Citing an unfavorable regulatory environment in Oklahoma, Fitch Ratings on Aug. 1 downgraded OGE Energy Corp.'s long-term issuer default rating to BBB+ from A- and its major electric and gas utility Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co.'s long-term issuer default rating to A- from A. Fitch's rating outlook for OGE and OG&E is stable, and the rating agency affirmed OGE's short-term issuer default rating/commercial paper rating at F2.

July 27

* S&P Global Ratings placed Chesapeake Energy Corp. on positive CreditWatch following the company's announcement that it plans to exit the Utica Shale and shift its focus to more oil-laden plays. The rating agency could move its unsecured debt rating on Chesapeake up one notch to B- from CCC+.

July 20

* Fitch Ratings on July 20 assigned first-time, BBB long-term issuer default ratings to Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp., its regulated utility subsidiary Liberty Utilities Co. and its unregulated power generation subsidiary Algonquin Power Co.

July 19

* S&P Global Ratings assigned an A- issuer credit rating and A-2 short-term rating with a stable outlook to Evergy Inc, the company resulting from the merger of Great Plains Energy and Westar Energy Inc.

July 18

* Portland General Electric Co. on July 18 earned a corporate credit rating upgrade to BBB+ from BBB from S&P Global Ratings after it reached a settlement to resolve all claims relating to its Carty Generating Station gas-fired power plant.

July 17

* S&P Global Ratings raised Rockies Express Pipeline LLC's corporate-level and senior unsecured credit ratings to investment-grade after the company paid off $550 million of debt. The joint venture between Tallgrass Energy LP and Phillips 66 was upgraded to BBB- from BB+ and taken off CreditWatch on analysts' expectation that the 1,700-mile gas pipeline system will maintain a 3.0x to 3.5x leverage ratio over the next two years despite expiring contracts with shippers.

July 16

* Moody's considers Exelon Generation Co. LLC's bid to acquire FirstEnergy Solutions Corp.'s retail business for $140 million credit positive.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings, a separately managed division of S&P Global. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.