Russian state oil company Rosneft said on Tuesday that it had expressed its interest in buying BP's stake in Anglo-Russian oil firm TNK-BP and would enter talks with the British corporate.
"The parties agreed to commence negotiations on this matter and signed a non-disclosure agreement," Rosneft said in a statement.
BP announced on 1 June that it would put its one-half stake in TNK-BP up for sale after a collapse in relations with the co-owners of Russia's third largest oil company, a quartet of Soviet-born billionaires led by tycoon Mikhail Fridman.
The AAR consortium representing the local shareholders expressed its interest last week in buying half of BP's stake, or 25 per cent, in TNK-BP and has said it would be willing to pay $10bn (£6.4bn).
Under the TNK-BP shareholders' agreement, BP should conduct 'good faith' negotiations with AAR. It can negotiate with other parties, but may not conclude a deal with anyone else for a period of 90 days.
"Rosneft believes that an acquisition of BP's interest in TNK-BP would be in the best interest of both Rosneft's and BP's shareholders and would lead to further development of TNK-BP," Rosneft said, adding there could be "no assurance" of a deal.
City A.M. Reporter