Russian oligarch quits joint venture with BP
BP is facing another crisis after the oligarch who led its Russian joint venture quit and insiders warned that the billion-pound tie-up was heading for failure.
Trouble had been brewing for months but the City was still shocked when Mikhail Fridman, right, the Russian billionaire who headed TNK-BP and represented Alfa-Access-Renova (AAR), the consortium of oligarchs with a 50 per cent stake in TNK-BP, quit yesterday.
A source close to AAR said: "The Russian shareholders have lost faith in BP as a partner. This partnership appears to have run its course and we are most likely heading towards some kind of disengagement. It has been increasingly difficult for Mikhail to run the business in this environment."
Another source close to TNK-BP's board said: "There is a breakdown in governance at TNK-BP."
BP, meanwhile, said that Mr Fridman had left for "personal reasons", with a spokesman adding that his role had "largely been ceremonial" and said his departure would not affect the business. But it is the latest sign of discontent at TNK-BP. Just last week the joint venture, which is Russia's third-biggest crude producer, cancelled a board meeting and postponed a decision on its dividend as it was still looking to replace an independent board director and the board did not have a quorum. TNK-BP's board has been below full strength since December, when Gerhard Schröder, the former German chancellor, and James Leng, former chairman-elect of Rio Tinto, quit.
The company has been engaged in international arbitration over BP's attempt to secure a $16bn (£10bn) share swap and tie-up with Kremlin-owned Rosneft in the Arctic. The AAR oligarchs argued the move would damage TNK-BP's work in the country and secured a High Court injunction to freeze BP's negotiations. It claimed that the deal, which later collapsed, breached a shareholder agreement granting TNK-BP the right of first refusal to any venture in Russia or Ukraine. BP still denies this and an arbitration panel will post its findings later this summer.
Mr Fridman had been chief executive of TNK-BP ever since an earlier dispute in 2008, which saw the company's then head of Russia, the American Bob Dudley, who now runs the whole of BP, being forced to escape from Russia.
A Moscow energy industry insider said Mr Fridman's resignation would not herald the end of his involvement. "As long as he owns it, he will de facto run it," he said. "This is just a way to formally disassociate himself from the management. Looks like preparing the ship for a storm."
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
- 3 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Sir David Attenborough interview: The one question about life that still baffles him
Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
iJobs Money & Business
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...
Competitive salary & benefits!: MBDA UK Ltd: MBDA UK LTD Indirect Procurement...