Russia's Rosneft looks to future after BP

10th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia's state oil giant Rosneft opened its annual meeting on Friday with an eye on a future without BP after the British firm signalled that their doomed alliance was effectively dead.

"The company has reached a new stage of its development -- becoming a high-quality, global energy leader," Rosneft's deputy board chief Yury Petrov as he opened the shareholder conference in southern Russia.

"We have established new assignments and long-term goals that will ensure stable company growth," he said.

Rosneft, which was built up out of the ruins of the defunct Yukos giant of detained oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, controls of about one-fifth of Russia's oil production and some of the world's most coveted northern sea reserves.

The Russian company had pinned its future on the BP agreement -- a $16 billion (11-billion-euro) share swap which would also have made BP into the first Western oil major to tap the vast fields hidden in the Arctic.

A source close to Rosneft said the company believed it had struck a "visionary" partnership that would have seen the two giants lord over nearly half of the world's oil production within the next 20 years.

The deal collapsed last month over protests by BP's Russian partners in its local joint venture and subsequent attempts to buy out the unhappy shareholders failed.

BP chief Bob Dudley was quoted by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday as saying the deal was effectively dead and it was time for his firm to be "moving on".

The Rosneft source told AFP: "We are also moving on. Dudley himself said the deal was dead."

The source said: "We are opening our doors to everyone. We are saying welcome."

Rosneft has already held talks with the visiting head of the Anglo-Dutch firm Royal Dutch Shell and is fielding other offers.

The Rosneft source said the company was also conducting "ongoing and detailed negotiations" with ExxonMobil of the United States.

But Shell has already said it was not discussing a cross-holding and a Rosneft source ExxonMobil was also unwilling to exchange shares with the Russian state-held firm.

"They (ExxonMobil) are not ready for it," the Rosneft source said of a share swap.

© 2011 AFP

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