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Fresh blow to BP over TNK

TNK-BP is likely to stay under the effective control of Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman until 2011.

The chief executive’s post at the joint venture between oil giant BP and four Russian tycoons will soon pass to Maxim Barsky, the candidate agreed by both sides several months ago.

But Fridman will stay at the helm of the joint venture for at least 12 months while Barsky is trained up.

The news will be seen as a blow to BP, which has increasingly ceded control of the enterprise to its Russian partners who are known as Alfa Access Renova (AAR).

Relations at the enterprise have been turbulent since a row between AAR and former chief executive Robert Dudley last year.

Dudley, a BP man, accused the Russian authorities of harassment and fled the country.

His successor, Tim Summers, left earlier this year and was replaced by Fridman as acting chief executive.

BP had originally nominated PavelSkitovich, a Russian businessman with wide-ranging industrial experience, for the post. The company and AAR settled on Barsky when it became clear he had superior qualifications in the oil sector.

Last night BP did not comment.