BP’s partnership with Rosneft was remarkable for a number of reasons, not least that it was done against the wishes of BP’s partners in TNK-BP and was the first equity partnership between a private international and a public national oil company. It is also a partnership not limited to developing Russian assets only: the two parties have a 50/50 ownership of Ruhr Oel, a German refining joint venture.
Ian Smale, BP’s group head of strategy and policy, told an audience in London on Monday that the two companies would be looking at further JVs outside Russia, and described the arrangement as an example of how IOCs and NOCs could form closer partnerships in future.
A newsflash from Reuters has reported that a UK court has issued an injunction on the BP-Rosneft deal, which is now on hold.
This won’t come as a surprise to BP. Bob Dudley told reporters on Tuesday morning:
There is a relatively low hurdle in the UK for granting an injunction. That may well happen today.
This came after a case brought by AAR, BP’s partners in TNK-BP, who have been far from happy about the Rosneft deal.
But Dudley will not be overly concerned by such a move. Earlier, he insisted that an injunction would be merely a “time-out” in the discussions.
UPDATE – Rosneft is echoing BP’s confidence. A spokesman has said:
All the risks were expected and the London court decision should not affect the essence of the deal.
Shareholders apparently agree. BP remains about 0.5 per cent up on the day, having moved largely on its results.
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.