TNK-BP Suspends Talks on Rosneft Joint Shelf Projects

Russian-British joint oil venture TNK-BP suspended its talks with state-controlled oil major Rosneft to jointly develop hydrocarbon deposits on Russia’s continental shelf, TNK-BP Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Muir said on Friday.

Muir told a news conference that the company had suspended negotiations with Rosneft without disclosing the reason for the halt.

In late April, Rosneft made an offer to domestic oil companies LUKoil, Bashneft, Surgutneftegas and TNK-BP to jointly develop 12 fields on the Arctic shelf. The Russian-British joint oil venture started talks with Rosneft in early May.

This week Rosneft has agreed to start negotiating with BP to purchase its stake in TNK-BP. BP, along with AAR, a group of four Russian partners, currently holds a 50-percent stake in the venture. BP has said it wants to sell its stake.

BP and AAR have been locked in a long-running dispute over the management of their Russian joint venture, which resulted in the replacement of the former TNK-BP CEO Robert Dudley in 2008.

Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman, a member of AAR, which represents the four billionaires of Russian origin who own half of TNK-BP, resigned as TNK-BP’s CEO in late May due to what he called “a collapse of corporate management.”

Muir also told a news conference that the long-running dispute between the shareholders and the possible sale of BP’s stake in the venture did not affect the company’s operations. TNK-BP staff does not feel any tangible effects associated with corporate governance problems, he added.


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