THE FUTURE of BP’s lucrative but fraught Russian joint venture could be decided this week, with the firm’s obligation to conduct good faith sale talks with partner AAR ending on Wednesday.
After this date, BP is free to sell its stake in TNK-BP to another buyer, most likely to be Rosneft.
AAR, controlled by a quartet of Russian billionaires, is working to mount a formal bid for BP’s 50 per cent stake in the pair’s joint venture ahead of the expiry date, 90 days after BP formally opened discussions.
But the fate of TNK-BP is far from sealed, with Rosneft in talks with BP about making an offer of its own, and AAR also on notice to sell out from the venture if its bid for full control fails to impress.
Mikhail Fridman, one of the oligarchs at the centre of AAR, told a Sunday newspaper the firm had not yet decided how much to bid for BP’s stake, but has said the amount will be “competitive”.
Analysts have valued BP’s share of the venture at upwards of $20bn (£12.4bn), though it could attract an even higher bid from AAR, whose bosses are also keen to bring the partnership to an end, either by buying out BP or getting a decent price for its own stake.
BP and AAR declined to comment yesterday.