Kiran Stacey Russians now have the upper hand in TNK-BP

I won’t write much about BP’s deal to sell $1.8bn worth of assets in Venezuela to TNK-BP, as that has been dealt with in some detail by Stefan Wagstyl on our Beyond Brics blog. But it is worth picking up a point that cropped up in both Stefan’s post and today’s Lex note.

Stefan writes:

Even before Macondo, it was clear that [Mikhail] Fridman and friends had come out on top, with BP’s Dudley being replaced by a Russian chief executive. The latest deal sees the Russian shareholders gaining further ground – putting the joint venture’s hard cash into international expansion [something BP had opposed in the dispute of two years ago].

Lex agrees:

Even though BP retains a financial interest in the assets through its 50 per cent stake in TNK-BP, every move by the Russian company abroad arguably weakens Mr Dudley’s hand in the joint venture.

So it seems the Russians have come out on top in the bitter dispute that divided the two partners in 2008, just as the man ousted as a result of that dispute, Bob Dudley (pictured), takes over at BP. Ouch.