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Rosneft to buy half of TNK-BP?

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Rosneft to buy half of TNK-BP?

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The long running TNK-BP saga could be coming to an end.

Reportedly the consortium of Russian billionaires that owns half of the oil company with BP wants out of the lucrative but troubled joint-venture.

Sources said it has agreed to sell its stake to Russia’s state-controlled energy producer Rosneft.

It is not clear if BP would also then sell its half to Rosneft.

A full purchase would make Rosneft the world’s largest publicly listed oil company, with production of 4.5 million barrels a day; that is over double the output of the privately owned Russian firm Lukoil.

A deal would be subject to government approval but that is not seen as a problem. Rosneft boss Igor Sechin has strong personal ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and recently said his firm’s ambition to invest in TNK-BP enjoyed Putin’s backing.

This could also allow BP to pursue an exploration deal in the Arctic it tried to set up last year with Rosneft, but which was blocked in the courts by its TNK-BP partners. That was just the latest in a series of disputes between BP’s management and the Russian billionaires.

BP’s Chief Executive Bob Dudley, a former head of TNK-BP, has said he is still committed to Russia.