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Second TNK-BP executive resigns

Times Online
The Times
August 26, 2008

Second TNK-BP executive resigns

TNK-BP, the Russian joint venture of BP, suffered another setback yesterday with the resignation of a second senior executive in less than a month.

Anthony Considine, the company’s head of downstream business, responsible for its oil refining, trading and marketing businesses, is leaving after five years to “pursue other opportunities” as the battle for control of the business escalates.

It is understood that Mr Considine, who will leave Moscow on September 15, was not hounded out of the city but felt that he could no longer add anything to the business given the present volatile circumstances. He also wanted to rejoin his family, who recently moved back to Australia.

Mr Considine, previously an employee of BP, had been at the business since it started operations in August 2003 and was a member of its management board.

Tim Summers, TNK-BP’s chief operating officer, said that he regretted losing Mr Considine and that his team had “embodied what TNK-BP was set up to achieve – a unique and powerful blend of Russian and international expertise”.

His resignation follows that of James Owen, the chief financial officer, who resigned this month citing the increasingly hostile fight over the venture between BP and its Russian shareholders. The business has had its offices raided by the Russian authorities and visas denied for BP staff.

In late July Bob Dudley, the chief executive, fled Moscow after the withdrawal of his work visa. He is now running the company from an undisclosed base in Central Europe.

Mr Dudley subsequently was banned from working in Russia for two years after authorities accused him of labour violations. In response he has filed a formal complaint and has accused the Russian State Labour Inspectorate of an abuse of power. He also alleges he was the victim of an intense campaign of harassment. AAR wants to remove Mr Dudley, whom it accuses of favouring BP.

The Moscow-based TNK-BP is Russia’s third-biggest producer of crude oil and has been involved in a shareholder row between its two 50 per cent co-owners: BP and AAR, a consortium of four Russian billionaires. The two sides have fallen out over management and strategy but are expected to meet next month to try to resolve the feud and also to consider a partial flotation of the group.

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