BP-TNK Crisis: A Case Of Hypocrisy On All Sides Involved

July 29, 2008

BP-TNK Crisis: A Case Of Hypocrisy On All Sides Involved

I’m sorry, but I find all the drama surrounding the crisis, which is engulfing the British-Russian joint oil venture BP-TNK, to be smacking of serious hypocrisy; both on the part of Russia and the West.Let me explain. For more than six months now BP-TNK – a joint venture between British Petroleum and the Russian oil giant, Tyumen Oil Company – has been going through a crisis caused by the decision of the Russian owners of the group to attempt to change the composition of the board of directors and to review the initial agreement that stipulates how the firm operates. The Russian owners – four oligarchs – are especially keen on getting rid of the BP appointed chief executive of BP-TNK, Robert Dudley, who is now hiding – yes, you’ve heard me right –... 

BP Continues To Lose Its Grip On BP-TNK. The Signs Are Ominous

July 24, 2008

BP Continues To Lose Its Grip On BP-TNK. The Signs Are Ominous

The conflict between BP and the Russian shareholdres in the joint British-Russian oil venture BP-TNK is intensifying with the UK oil giant having been forced to withdraw all the remaining foreign engineers, who were assigned to work for the group in Russia. 86 foreign engineers have already left the country when their work visas expired and the Russian authorities refused to extend them. In effect it means that BP continues to lose its grip on the joint venture, which is widely seen as target of a possible takeover by the Russian state. The most likely candidate to purchase the group is the state owned gas giant, Gazprom, although there have also been suggestions that the oil company Rosneft may buy a controlling stake in the joint venture. So that you know, Rosneft is very same corporation... 

BP-TNK Crisis: It’s Time For The British Government To Step In

July 1, 2008

BP-TNK Crisis: It’s Time For The British Government To Step In

More disturbing news comes from Moscow regarding the continuing conflict between the Russian and the British shareholders in the giant joint oil venture, BP-TNK. Now it seems that the Russian authorities have openly come out on the side of the four Russian oligarchs who are trying to seize control of the group which they currently own with BP on a 50:50 basis.   Yesterday the Moscow government has refused to extend work permits for nearly 70 foreign executives and senior managers of BP-TNK who will now be forced the leave the country by the end of this month. Among the people, whose visas have not been renewed, was BP-TNK’s chief executive Robert Dudley. Dudley has been the subject of a fierce hostile campaign launched by the four Russian oligarchs who demand his removal from... 

The Crisis In BP-TNK Intensifies. It Is Looking Very Ominous Indeed

June 1, 2008

The Crisis In BP-TNK Intensifies. It Is Looking Very Ominous Indeed

Well, well, well. It seems that the BP-TNK saga is entering a new stage when the pressure that is being exerted on this joint venture between British Petroleum and a group of Russian oligarchs is becoming more intense and even personal.    The latest crisis erupted in BP-TNK when the three Russian oligarchs who control a 50 per cent stake in the group demanded the resignation of Robert Dudley, chief executive of BP-TNK, accusing him of favouring the interests of BP when taking crucial decisions about the group’s strategy. The three oligarchs – Leon Blavatnik, Mikhail Freedman and Viktor Vekselberg – have accused Mr Dudley of ignoring their interests when it came to developing projects outside Russia. They insisted that he should be looking after the interests of the group even when... 

Russian Government Keeps Pressure On BP. The Showdown Approaches

May 22, 2008

Russian Government Keeps Pressure On BP. The Showdown Approaches

Didn’t I tell that you that the Russian government has plans regarding BP-TNK, the joint venture between British Petroleum and Russian Tyumen Oil Company, Tumenskaya Neftenaya Kompaniya? I did and I also wrote that Gazprom, the giant Russian state owned energy company, is definitely set on buying the 50 per cent stake in the joint venture that belongs to four Russian oligarchs.    Well, the pressure on BP has intensified this week when agents of the Russian Security Service, Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnoti, or FSB for short, raided the Moscow office of BP and searched it for documents. No explanation has been given about the nature of the documents in question but the search appeared to be part of an ongoing criminal investigation by the FSB in connection with the charges of industrial... 

Gazprom Is Moving In On BP-TNK. That Is Certain Now

April 25, 2008

Gazprom Is Moving In On BP-TNK. That Is Certain Now

I have recently promised British Petroleum in my article posted on this website (See item ‘It’s An Old Russian Custom: Keep Your Business Partner Guessing’, March 27 in section ‘Russian Graffiti’) that I would ask my sources in Moscow to investigate rumours that the state owned gas giant, Gazprom, is planning to buy a 50 per cent stake in the joint venture BP-TNK. Well, I can report today that, unfortunately for BP, these rumours have proven to be correct. Yes, Gazprom has already even set a time table for the conclusion of the deal – end of this year beginning of the next – and offered to pay the three Russian business groups that own the stake $20 billion for it. When I say ‘offered’ I obviously mean that just like in the film The Godfather it was... 

It’s An Old Russian Custom: Keep Your Business Partner Guessing

March 27, 2008

It’s An Old Russian Custom: Keep Your Business Partner Guessing

It’s been a nerve wrecking time for British Petroleum or, rather for its Moscow based joint venture in Russia which goes under the name of BP-TNK, TNK standing for Tyumen Oil Company. It’s a big joint venture, by the way. It has been created in 2003 with a lot of pomp and ceremony and President Vladimir Putin and then Prime Minister Tony Blair were the two main guarantors of its wonderful future. The group has about 8 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, has oil producing assets in Siberia and the Urals and owns and operates 5 oil refineries. Its workforce numbers about 70,000 people and it extracts 1.7 million barrels of oil a day. So, as you can see, BP-TNK is doing pretty well and making a serious profit. But now the clouds have gathered over the joint venture and there are...