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BP Russia chief expected to go in new pact

Times Online
September 4, 2008

BP Russia chief expected to go in new pact

BP is poised to resolve a bitter dispute at TNK-BP, its Russian joint venture, that has caused a political firestorm and threatened the British oil group’s future in the region.

Vedomosti, the Russian daily, reports that a deal could be signed today by BP’s chief executive Tony Hayward and leading Russian shareholder Mikhail Fridman.

The agreement is likely to involve a replacement being named for Robert Dudley, the chief executive of the troubled TNK-BP, who has been managing the group from outside Russia for more than a month.

The deal could also lead to a public offering of up to a fifth of TNK-BP’s shares.

BP has been locked in a fierce dispute with some its Russian shareholders, including Mr Fridman, about the way the 50-50 joint venture is managed.

Mr Dudley, who left Russia after failing to have his visa renewed, has complained of a targeted harassment campaign, with questions being raised about whether Moscow is quietly trying to seize control of the venture and evict the British group.

TNK-BP’s new boss would be independent and would have less authority over the group than Mr Dudley.

BP was not immediately able to comment on the report.

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