The dispute between British oil producer BP and its Russian partners in the joint TNK-BP venture has been raised yet another notch. A leading Russian shareholder has accused BP of behaving unethically and blocking the joint company’s expansion overseas.
Mikhail Fridman is chairman of the Alfa Group which is one of the Russian partners:
“This is absolutely a key investment for Russia. Now BP produces more oil in Russia than in any other country…. that’s why they don’t want to move on anything. Now the question is whether this company will remain independent or will work like a branch of the BP corporation.”
TNK-BP was created in 2003 as the result of the consolidation of several Russian oil companies, including TNK. The British oil giant has a 50% stake in the consortium.
The Russians accuse BP of backing away from a development project in Northern Iraq believing it could be viewed unfavourably by the US… thus undermining the consortium’s independence. But BP says the unfair criticism is part of a bullying campaign to make then handover their stake in the company.