By Ria Novosti
British oil major BP has launched a 90-day “good faith” negotiating process with its Russian partners in TNK-BP, to sell a part or all of its 50 percent stake in the joint venture, BP said.
The Alfa Access-Renova (AAR) consortium of Russian shareholders has expressed willingness to exercise its right to enter a period of negotiation required by the TNK-BP shareholder agreement to purchase a part or all of BP’s 50 percent share in TNK-BP, BP said in a statement.
“BP is also able to, and will, enter into negotiations with other interested parties in parallel for the sale of its share in TNK-BP,” the oil giant said.
“There can be no guarantee that any transaction will take place.”
BP and AAR have been locked in a long-running dispute over management of their Russian joint venture, which resulted in the replacement of the former TNK-BP CEO Robert Dudley in 2008.
Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman, a member of AAR, which represents the four billionaires of Russian origin who own half of TNK-BP, resigned as TNK-BP’s CEO in late May due to what he called a collapse of corporate management.
The Guardian suggested in an article on Sunday the UK oil firm could net a $30 billion windfall from its 50 percent stake, as it intended open talks with other potential buyers besides AAR in order to resolve the long-standing shareholder conflict in Russia’s third largest oil company.
The Russian shareholders have indicated they will only offer $7 billion for BP’s stake, although acknowledging it is worth around $20 billion, claiming a $13 billion discount would compensate AAR for the failure of a previous attempt by BP to tie up a separate deal with state-owned Rosneft earlier this year against AAR’s wishes, the Guardian said.
Analysts polled by RIA Novosti on Tuesday said Russian-state-owned companies would be the most likely candidates to purchase BP’s stake, if the British oil major failed to agree a deal with the AAR consortium.