BP chief visits base of world's top sovereign wealth fund

7th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

BP's chief executive Tony Hayward was in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday amid speculation Britain's oil giant is seeking support from foreign sovereign wealth funds in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.

"It is a private visit" to the capital of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, a BP official told AFP.

He gave no details on the visit to the home base of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, considered the world's largest sovereign wealth fund with assets of more than 600 billion dollars.

In London, a BP spokesman said on Tuesday that Hayward was visiting "our important partners" amid speculation it was seeking help to cope with the soaring spill costs in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Our chief executive is on a general series of visits to our important partners," he said.

The company is reportedly seeking the support of foreign sovereign wealth funds in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster and the resulting collapse in its share price.

Reports say securing the support of sovereign wealth funds could stave off a possible takeover bid for BP from a major competitor such as Exxon, Shell or Total.

Hayward was in Baku on Tuesday where he reassured Azerbaijan of BP's commitment to energy projects in that country despite rising costs from the oil spill, now put at some three billion dollars.

BP has said it can cope with the soaring cost without asking existing shareholders for cash but he company has also indicated that it would welcome new shareholders.

© 2010 AFP

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