TNK-BP delays bid to take BP's place in Rosneft tie-up

4th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

The board of the Russian-British joint venture TNK-BP on Friday postponed a vote on whether to try and take BP's place in the British giant's strategic alliance with Russia's biggest oil firm Rosneft.

Various Western press reports said that TNK-BP's management was willing to pay BP $7.6 billion in cash for its place in the $16 billion Rosneft share-swap and Arctic exploration agreement.

The Russian owners of the joint venture believe the deal violates the TNK-BP shareholders agreement and have tried to block it in a London court.

But the Financial Times reported this week that Rosneft had a sceptical view of the joint venture's attempt to take BP's place in the deal.

A statement from TNK-BP -- which is Russia's third-largest oil producer and one of the world's 10 biggest private oil firms -- said Friday's board vote in Berlin was postponed "to allow for a more detailed study of the proposal."

The group's Chief Executive Officer Mikhail Fridman stressed however that management would still push ahead with its plan.

"We hope that the next board of directors meeting will support the management's recommendation and that TNK-BP's management will be authorised to start negotiations with BP and Rosneft to participate in the Arctic deal and share swap." Fridman said in a statement.

January's agreement gives Rosneft five percent of BP's ordinary voting shares in exchange for approximately 9.5 percent of Rosneft's stock.

BP and Rosneft also agreed to explore and develop Rosneft's three licensed blocks on the Arctic continental shelf -- a 125,000 square kilometre (50 square mile) region said to contain five billion tonnes of oil and 3.0 trillion cubic metres of gas.

© 2011 AFP

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