BP angers America again – this time over deal with Russians

BP's frantic efforts to repair its devastated reputation in the US have been set back by a major new alliance with the Russian government, prompting outraged comments from all sides of the political spectrum.

Amid continuing anger from the American public over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, politicians are calling for an investigation into BP's deal to sell a 5 per cent stake in the company to the Russian state-controlled oil giant Rosneft.

That deal, which gives BP access to vast untapped oil reserves in the Arctic, was signed with fanfare in London on Friday night, but across the Atlantic, one Congressman renamed BP "Bolshoi Petroleum". US critics also suggested BP has now become a national security threat, as well as environmental one.

"The national security implications of BP America being involved with the Russian company – that does require scrutiny by the Committee of Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS)," Michael Burgess, a Republican from Texas, said in a television interview hours after the deal was signed.

Mr Burgess is a member of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, making him a potential thorn in the side of BP, which has major operations across the US. "BP unfortunately has not been a great player either in the oil pipeline in Alaska and in the Gulf of Mexico," Mr Burgess said. "We have had serious problems there."

Earlier, Ed Markey, a prominent Democrat, had highlighted that BP was in 2009 the top supplier of petroleum to the US military. And he promised to push for intense scrutiny of the deal. He said: "Even following the largest oil spill in US history, and potentially billions of dollars in fines still outstanding, the Russian Bear is apparently bullish about BP. This acquisition will almost certainly complicate the politics of levying and collecting damages from BP following their Gulf of Mexico oil spill.



"BP once stood for British Petroleum. With this deal, it now stands for Bolshoi Petroleum. The details of this deal and its impacts on the operations of BP America need to be thoroughly examined," Mr Markey added.

CFIUS is the US Treasury body with the power to block mergers and takeover deals if they are found to hurt US national security. Natural resources deals have always been among the most politically sensitive, and appear to be even more so since the emergence of China and other emerging nations on the world stage. US political pressure thwarted a Chinese takeover of an American oil company, Unocal, in 2005.

A BP spokesman said yesterday that the company was "very happy and pleased with the deal we have done, and we will deal with groups that have things to say as and when necessary".

Privately, the company believes there are no grounds for the US to intervene in the deal. Wall Street analysts say BP's business prospects are more heavily dependent on other issues, including the long-term costs of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and BP's reputation with US safety regulators. It remains unclear if, or how soon, BP might once again become a contender for future drilling licences in the Gulf.

BP's chief executive, Bob Dudley, and Vladimir Putin, the Russian Prime Minister, called it "an alliance based on mutual advantage". Rosneft will take a 5 per cent stake in the British company, worth £4.9bn, in return for 9.5 per cent of Rosneft. It is the first time that one of the international oil giants has entered into this kind of cross-shareholding arrangement with a state-controlled oil company.

Under the deal, BP will help exploit new oil and gas exploration licences awarded to Rosneft last year, which cover approximately 125,000 square kilometres in the shallow waters of the South Kara Sea. The deal was immediately attacked by environmental campaigners, including Greenpeace, for extending drilling to the fragile Arctic.

And yesterday, Ed Miliband, the Labour party leader, told the BBC's Andrew Marr: "I'd be pretty worried about this... I think that the lesson of the Gulf oil spill should be that the task for all of us – private companies, government and so on – is not to just keep digging and digging deeper and deeper for oil. It is actually to find those alternative forms of energy that can help us move forward in a clean way."

News
Mickey Rourke celebrates his victory against opponent Elliot Seymour
people
News
Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
newsTV chef gives evidence against his father-in-law in court case
News
Actor Burt Reynolds last year
people
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Opilio Recruitment: QA Automation Engineer

£30k - 38k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: An award-winning consume...

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game