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Senior TNK-BP official resigns

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Senior TNK-BP official resigns

By Robert Wright

Published: August 25 2008 14:01 | Last updated: August 25 2008 20:59

BP suffered a further blow to its influence over its Russian joint venture TNK-BP on Monday when one of its senior appointees resigned, joining the growing list of managers to leave the troubled oil producer.

The resignation of Anthony Considine, vice-president for downstream operations, will be seen in the light of the fierce and increasingly bitter struggle for control of TNK-BP that has been under way for much of this year.

His resignation comes three weeks after the joint venture’s chief financial officer also resigned, saying the dispute between BP and the 50-50 joint venture’s Russian shareholders pushed him out.

The company’s chief executive, Robert Dudley, is currently operating the company from a secret location in central Europe after his Russian visa was suspended and a Moscow court prevented him from operating in Russia for two years. The company’s vice-president for exploration left late last month after receiving an offer from another Russian oil company.

Mr Considine resigned with effect from September 15, according to a press release issued by TNK-BP, which said he had left to “pursue other opportunities”.

The Australian was a BP executive before joining TNK-BP, Russia’s second-largest oil producer, as it was formed in October 2003. He spent six months working for the integration team forming the new company, then ran its refining, trading and marketing businesses.

TNK-BP’s Russian shareholders, Mikhail Fridman, German Khan, Viktor Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik, have accused the company of violating a series of Russian laws in a move widely seen as an effort to secure control.

However, they have denied being behind a series of investigations by the Russian authorities that have made life increasingly hard for non-Russian executives at the group, including suspensions of visas.

The Russian shareholders point to the investigations as justification for their concerns about the group’s operations.

Tim Summers, TNK-BP’s chief operating officer, said it regretted it was losing Mr Considine.

“In his five years of leadership with TNK-BP, he has set an outstanding example of cross-cultural performance and success,” he said.

Mr Considine is expected to return to Australia and, according to a person who had spoken to him, had been seeking to move on for family reasons for some time. His family returned to Australia at the end of 2007.

EDITOR’S CHOICE

S&P downgrades TNK-BP rating – Aug-06

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2008

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