BP’s Russian ally snubs TNK

Marion Dakers
A SENIOR executive at BP’s newest Russian partner Rosneft said yesterday that TNK-BP is not big enough to join its Arctic exploration efforts.

“They have neither the technology, nor the experience, nor the personnel,” Rosneft chief financial officer Peter O’Brien said of TNK-BP, which is owned by BP and Russian billionaires under the name AAR.

The comments risk inflaming a dispute between BP and AAR, which is set to go to arbitration in Sweden this month.

“Anything is possible but in reality I do not see a resolution before the start of the arbitration process,” O’Brien said.

AAR has already managed to win an injunction suspending BP’s landmark share-swap with state-owned Rosneft, after it argued that TNK-BP has been unfairly left out of the Arctic-focused deal.

AAR’s spokesperson was unavailable for comment yesterday, while BP declined to comment on O’Brien’s remarks. Chief executive Bob Dudley said this week that he hopes for a speedy resolution to the spat.

Meanwhile, BP admitted that US regulators are considering filing charges linked to the firm’s alleged manipulation of the gas market in 2008.

BP said in a statement it has co-operated with two separate US commission probes started last year, adding that “it did not engage in any inappropriate or unlawful activity”.

BP shares dipped 0.6 per cent to 488p yesterday.