At times the European Gas Conference in Vienna felt more like a television dating gameshow than a humdrum industry get-together.
It is make-or-break-time for Europe’s ambition to open up the so-called “Southern Corridor” – the bid to access alternative gas supplies in the Caspian region (which holds one quarter of the world’s reserves) and thereby break the continent’s dependency on Russian gas.
Last night, we reported that Igor Sechin, the Russian energy tsar, Rosneft chairman and deputy prime minister, had moved to damp down a brewing rebellion from BP’s Russian partners in TNK-BP against the Rosneft tie-up.
Well, it didn’t work. This morning it emerged that AAR has filed for an injuction at the High Court in London, claiming, the deal “may have been a breach” of BP’s existing shareholder agreement to pursue projects in Russia and Ukraine exclusively through TNK-BP.
Sechin insisted at Davos,
We consulted with BP and it is their opinion that they acted in line with the law. We don’t see a problem here.
But BP shareholders are obviously a little concerned. On an otherwise positive day for the FTSE100 and oil stocks, BP’s shares have slipped 0.5 per cent.