Shell moves in on BP’s failed Rosneft deal

ROYAL Dutch Shell is moving in on Russia’s Arctic energy reserves in the wake of BP’s failure to resolve its legal issues surrounding a tie-up with Rosneft, Moscow’s national oil giant.

Shell chief executive Peter Voser met with Russian deputy prime minister and energy chief Igor Sechin as well as Rosneft chief Eduard Khudainatov yesterday.

Shell said that the talks concerned development of Russia’s Arctic shelf and were “constructive”, but that they would not involve a share swap with Rosneft along the lines of BP’s collapsed deal.

If Rosneft does sign a deal with Shell, it will be a blow for Bob Dudley, chief executive of rival BP, who staked his reputation on a tie-up with Russia’s energy giant but saw the deal torpedoed by BP’s current partners in Russia, a group of oligarch investors in the consortium, Alfa-Access-Renova.

AAR, which is a major shareholder in TNK-BP, BP’s Russian vehicle, successfully blocked BP’s deal with Rosneft on the grounds that it broke the terms of an agreement giving TNK-BP first refusal on any Russian venture by BP. BP’s $16bn (£10bn) share swap agreement with Rosneft expired last week.

Shell said that the talks with the Russian government concerned the Arctic as well as “broader strategic co-operation and technology development for the Arctic and other areas as well as opportunities for Rosneft to join Shell in developments outside Russia”.

FAST FACTS | ROSNEFT

Rosneft is Russia’s biggest oil and gas company and is 75.16 per cent owned by the state, with the rest of its shares publicly listed.
It has the rights to 22.9bn barrels of proven oil reserves and 47bn barrels of potential reserves.