BP’s latest attempts to expand in Russia will be a chance for chief executive Bob Dudley to mend his relationship with the country, following his troubled time as president of TNK-BP, the firm’s ongoing joint venture in the country.
Dudley was forced to leave Moscow in 2008 when his visa was not renewed, following a dispute between BP and fellow TNK investors Alfa-Access-Renova (AAR) that saw the Russian police raid the firm’s offices and what Dudley said was “sustained harassment” from officials.
AAR, run by a quartet of Russian oligarchs, said it would consult its lawyers about whether BP’s latest deal breaks conditions of its TNK-BP agreement, which were renewed in January 2009, that give the venture first refusal on BP’s Russian explorations in the country.
Bob Dudley met with AAR representatives during his visit to Russia last week, where he also spoke to Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Rosneft chairman Igor Sechin.
Meanwhile, a BP boss predicted in 2008 that TNK-BP would eventually be taken over by Rosneft, according to a leaked US embassy cable reported in the Guardian.