Russia confident of clinching BP deal
Russia expressed confidence Wednesday that the planned tie-up between BP and state-held Rosneft would go ahead despite an injuction on the oil deal being put by an arbitration tribunal in London.
The injunction was taken out by Russian shareholders in TNK-BP Holding -- a Russian-British venture that is jointly owned 50 percent by the British oil giant and 50 percent by a consortium of three Russian businessmen.
The Russian billionaires argued that BP's deal with Rosneft infringed on a TNK-BP shareholder agreement that stipulated that the two sides had to inform each about potential agreements with third parties.
But a top Russian official said that BP had assured Moscow that the transaction -- which has been personally blessed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin -- followed all international rules.
"We have received the necessary assurances from BP," Interfax quoted First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov as saying. "All the rights created by this deal are duely protected by international private and contract law."
Shuvalov added that Russia "expected a fair verdict" from the London tribunal.
BP and Russia's largest oil firm agreed in January to form a joint venture for Arctic oil exploration and take a cross-shareholding in one of the biggest ever tie-ups between a Russian and Western company.
The next London hearing on the TNK-BP's complaint has been scheduled for later this month.
© 2011 AFP