Expatica news

TNK-BP reports profits almost double as owners quarrel

TNK-BP profits nearly doubled in the first quarter of 2011, the joint venture said on Wednesday in an earnings statement underscoring the value of a firm at the centre of a dispute between its owners.

TNK-BP — jointly owned by BP and a group of Russian oligarchs — reported a 91-percent year-on-year increase in net income to $2.4 billion, confirming its status is one of the world’s 10 biggest private energy producers.

“Such outstanding performance once again underscores the tremendous value and promise of TNK-BP — one of the most dynamic and profitable oil and gas companies in the world,” chief executive Mikhail Fridman said in a statement.

Fridman noted that the rapid growth came “despite disruptions at the shareholder level” — a clear reference to the boardroom battle the Russian tycoons who control half of the firm are waging against their British partners.

The local billionaires have used the courts to successfully block BP’s plans to forge a separate Arctic exploration and share-swap deal with the state firm Rosneft, which is Russia’s largest oil company.

The Russian partners argue they have a right of first refusal on any BP project in Russia, and have since rejected a buyout offer from the British firm.

But one of the Russian partners, Viktor Vekselberg, told the BBC on Tuesday that while still keen to preserve TNK-BP’s current ownership structure, he might be willing to sell his stake for the right price.