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BP Pressured to Resolve Rosneft Dispute

Russia's leading producer, OAO Rosneft, has given BP plc until next Monday to negotiate an acceptable alternative to their historic share swap agreement announced in January, which in total is estimated to be worth about $16 billion.

The "groundbreaking strategic alliance" to explore Russia's largely unexplored Arctic region, considered key to BP CEO Bob Dudley's plan to right the company, would give state-controlled Rosneft around 5% of BP's ordinary voting shares in exchange for BP receiving 9.5% of Rosneft shares (see Daily GPI, Jan. 18).

However, BP already had joint venture (JV) exploration agreements with Alfa-Access-Renova (AAR), a Russian oligarch consortium, in TNK-BP. The group of Russian billionaires disputed the Rosneft alliance, and in March an arbitration tribunal extended an injunction of the agreement (see Daily GPI, March 28).

Last Friday AAR in essence won its case before the tribunal, which said it would allow BP to move forward with the Rosneft share swap only if it agreed to cede its Arctic JV to TNK-BP.

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