BP wins more time for Russian deal

Oil giant BP has secured more time to salvage its £10 billion share-swap and exploration deal with Russian-government owned Rosneft.

The embattled supermajor extended today's deadline to complete the agreement following last-minute negotiations with Rosneft.

The deal hit a wall when major shareholders in BP's existing Russian partner, TNK-BP, raised concerns over the agreement and an independent tribunal in Stockholm imposed an injunction on the tie-up going ahead until it had gathered further evidence.

BP now has until May 16 to secure the deal, in one form or another, by which time the Swedish arbitrators should have made their final ruling.

The company said: "BP intends to continue with the arbitration process to obtain a final award on all outstanding issues, including whether or not the interim injunction should continue.

"BP remains fully committed to TNK-BP as its primary business vehicle in Russia and fully supports its strategy and investment programme, which should ensure its success for decades to come."

The deal - hailed by BP as "historic" and "groundbreaking" when it was unveiled in January - would have paved the way for BP and Rosneft to jointly explore the south Kara Sea in the Russian Arctic.

But last month the Stockholm tribunal extended its injunction on the whole deal to both the exploration and share-swap.

BP then requested for the share-swap to proceed alone but this was also blocked last week.

The injunction is a blow to new BP chief executive Bob Dudley's hopes of restoring the company's reputation and financial position in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico last April.