TNK-BP shareholders fail to agree on BP-Rosneft deal

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Shareholders in the Russian-British company TNK-BP failed to agree Saturday at a meeting of the board of directors on a common position that would have allowed them to begin talks on joining BP's deal with Rosneft to explore the Arctic.

In January, British energy firm BP and Russian state oil giant Rosneft announced a $16 billion share-swap and joint exploration agreement of an enormous submarine area of the Arctic rich in hydrocarbons.

But the deal has met opposition from Russian shareholders in BP's joint venture, TNK-BP, who fear it could mark the end of their own company and have argued that it violated their shareholders agreement.

Last month TNK-BP said it was interested in joining the Arctic partnership, with press reports suggesting its management was willing to pay BP $7.6 billion in cash for the British firm's place in the Rosneft deal.

However, BP's representatives on the board of directors rejected this proposal at a meeting in Paris on Saturday, TNK-BP said in a statement.

BP for its part said its Russian partners -- Alfa, Access and Renova (AAR) -- had rejected "a proposal by BP's nominated directors which would have allowed TNK-BP to hold initial discussions with Rosneft", a spokesman said.

He added: "BP remains committed to finding a reasonable business-like resolution to the matters raised by AAR in relation to the share swap agreement and Arctic exploration arrangements agreed between BP and Rosneft."

Rosneft had on Friday vowed to complete its strategic alliance with BP and ridiculed TNK-BP's bid to become its partner on the Arctic shelf.

© 2011 AFP

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