Rosneft pushes on with BP alliance

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Russia's Rosneft vowed to push ahead with a strategic alliance with BP, despite a block on the deal by the British oil company's partners in joint venture.

Rosneft's chairman, Igor Sechin, said an arbitration panel ruling stopping BP and the state-controlled energy giant jointly exploring Russia's Arctic region and executing a $16bn (£10bn) share swap did not void the deal.

"The court didn't block [the deal], it extended the injunction until 7 April. We must await the court's verdict," Mr Sechin, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, told reporters. He said Rosneft had already lost money as a result of the actions by BP's TNK-BP partners Access-Renova (AAR), which pursued court action against the BP-Rosneft tie-up, arguing the alliance violated their right of refusal.

Russia's largest oil company was "satisfied" with BP as its partner and would defend its interests, Mr Sechin added.

Analysts said a rival could step in and replace BP as Rosneft's partner. TNK-BP has already suggested the joint venture could supplant BP in the share swap, but this was rejected by Rosneft.