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Fresh row in TNK-BP saga

THE acrimony between BP and its partners in the TNK-BP joint venture flared up anew yesterday as a group of Russian shareholders put up their own candidate to rival the British company&rsquo;s choice of chief executive.<br /><br />BP unveiled Pavel Skitovich, a former head of Russian mining firm Polyus Gold, as its choice to lead the joint venture earlier this week.<br /><br />But the oil giant was forced to postpone Skitovich&rsquo;s coronation after its Russian partners put forward their own candidate, Maxim Barsky, a former managing director of West Siberia Resources.<br /><br />The rebellion stems from Alfa Access Renova (AAR) &ndash; a group of four Russian oligarchs led by Mikhail Fridman, who will serve as interim chief executive. The group is believed to have questioned Skitovich&rsquo;s experience in the oil industry.<br /><br />BP has clashed with its Russian partners before, particularly over former chief executive of TNK-BP Bob Dudley, who led the venture from 2003.<br /><br />Dudley, along with the rest of his board, was eventually forced to step down late last year after a campaign by AAR, even fleeing Russia and going into hiding at one stage.<br /><br />He was later rewarded with a place on the board of BP.