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BP’s Hayward to head east

TONY HAYWARD, BP’s embattled chief executive, is to launch a Russian charm offensive in a bid to calm the nerves of President Dmitry Medvedev over the group’s future.

Although the timing of the meeting has yet to be confirmed, Hayward intends to meet with Medvedev to reassure him that BP can survive the liabilities of the oil spill in Louisiana that has created dloubts about the group’s future..

The Russian president expressed concern on Friday over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and said he feared the costs would lead to the "annihilation" of BP.

BP’s Russian joint venture, TNK-BP, is the third largest oil group in the region, with the other half owned by Alfa Access-Renova, a consortium of businessmen.

Next to the US, Russia is one of the most important region’s to BP, which is understood to produce one in four of BP’s barrels.

A spokesperson for BP said he would not give a running commentary on Hayward’s movements and would not confirm the meeting with Medvedev. Hayward was facing criticism after being spotted with his son at a yachting event over the weekend.