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TNK-BP dispute settled

04/09/08 19:37 CET

British oil company BP has resolved its dispute with the Russia-connected billionaires who are co-owners of its joint venture TNK-BP.

The deal ends months of increasingly hostile disputes with the oligarchs.

Chief executive Bob Dudley – a BP appointee – is stepping down and TNK-BP’s board will be restructured so that each side would no longer have half the seats; in future the balance held by independent directors.

BP had accused its partners of orchestrating a campaign of state harassment to gain control of Russia’s third-largest oil producer. There had been raids on its offices by Russian security forces as well as tax investigations into the joint-venture, which is estimated to be worth more than 30 billion euros.

Analysts called this a good outcome for BP. Investors had feared it might lose its interest in TNK-BP with only minimal compensation.

BP’s shares rose along with those of TNK-BP Holding which owns the majority of the company’s assets.