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Worldcrunch

With Putin's Help, BP May Team Up With Russian State To Explore Arctic For Oil

KOMMERSANT (Russia) BBC

Worldcrunch

MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin is back in the middle of the oil business.

Putin met this week with the head of Rosneft, a partially state-owned oil company, as well as the president of BP and a representative from the British multinational's board of directors to see if a partnership between the two firms was possible, Kommersant reported.

According to people familiar with the proposed deal, Rosneft would buy BP’s 50 percent stake in THK-BP, a joint venture between BP and Alfa Access Renova, a Russian company owned by four billionaires. Rosneft would pay for half of the deal with cash, and the other half would be paid for in shares.

Under the current plan, BP would get 12.53% of Rosneft’s shares, making it the largest shareholder in the company after the Russian government, Kommersant reported.

But a BP spokesman told the BBC, “No formal offers have been received, so any figures being bandied about are pure speculation at this stage.”

The two companies hope to work together to explore the Russian Arctic for oil, but their attempts to form a partnership have been complicated by BP’s soured relationship with its partners in THK-BP, Alfa Access Renova, the BBC reported.

In addition, the whole deal will need to have the approval of the Russian government. Kommersant reports, however, that the Russian government is not currently prepared to give the green light.

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