Watchdog Probes TNK-BP Over Antitrust Violations

Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) is examining the shareholders agreement of the Russian-British joint venture TNK-BP for antitrust violations at the request of the country’s largest oil company Rosneft, FAS deputy head Anatoly Golomolzin said on Wednesday.

“The agreement is being checked at the request of Rosneft. We received a complaint that the agreement violates competitiveness,” Golomolzin told reporters.

The check comes at a time of intensified shareholder conflict between the TNK-BP core shareholders and BP’s announced plans to sell its 50 percent stake in its Russian joint oil venture. This could lead to the divulging of confidential information on the venture, including operational data, sales contracts, capital expenditure plans and other information.

TNK-BP CEO Mikhail Fridman resigned from his post in late May over what he said was “management paralysis” in the joint venture.

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

That conflict, which went on for three months, and ended with Dudley resigning and leaving Russia, was followed by another spat over whether BP was entitled to participate in a joint venture with Rosneft, to explore and develop Russia’s Arctic shelf deposits.


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