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BP Hit By Ratings Cut, Says It Was Not Ready For Gulf Disaster

An aerial view of the area where BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded last month and sank in the Gulf of Mexico
British energy giant BP has been hit with a ratings downgrade over the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

International ratings agency Fitch said it has cut BP's long-term issuer default rating and senior unsecured rating from "AA+" to "AA" and placed them on negative watch, citing risks from the huge Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

BP's chief executive meanwhile said that the company was caught by surprise by the oil spill and was unprepared to deal with it.

Tony Hayward said it was "entirely fair" to criticize the company's preparations.

Oil from the out-of-control spill is now drifting close to the beaches of northwestern Florida, the fourth U.S. state to be hit.

compiled from agency reports