By Jane Wardell
LONDON -- BP PLC's (BP) partners in Russian joint venture TNK-BP rejected a proposal by the British oil company on Saturday regarding its disputed tie-up with OAO Rosneft, Russia's top crude producer.
BP said the consortium of Russian billionaire shareholders did not accept an offer to involve them in talks about the Rosneft deal at a TNK-BP board meeting in Paris.
"A proposal by BP's nominated directors, which would have allowed TNK-BP to hold initial discussions with Rosneft about pursuing the Arctic opportunity, was rejected by Alfa, Access and Renova (AAR)," BP said in a statement.The AAR consortium, which has four representatives on the TNK-BP board -- alongside four BP-nominated directors and three independent directors -- has argued that BP's proposed $8 billion share swap deal with Rosneft violates the TNK-BP shareholders' agreement and would erode the joint venture's competitive advantage. AAR last month won a High Court injunction in London that has put the deal on ice until the dispute is resolved. The two sides underwent court-ordered arbitration this week and a ruling is expected by the end of the month. The increasingly acrimonious dispute is giving BP a major headache as it tries to regroup and move on from the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The Rosneft deal to explore the Arctic seabed would allow BP to hedge its production options as it faces new restrictions in the United States. BP said Saturday that it "remains committed to finding a reasonable businesslike resolution to the matters raised by AAR... This will be through arbitration and direct talks with all parties involved." The London-based company added that it "continues to act constructively and reasonably." Rosneft was more blunt in a warning statement issued ahead of the board meeting, saying it never considered TNK-BP as a possible participant in its alliance with BP "due to its lack of the relevant competence and TNK-BP never made any proposals to Rosneft expressing its interest in working on the shelf." "Any activities aimed at disrupting the deal that cause damage to Rosneft will be closely examined," it added. "Based on such examination, Rosneft will undertake all measures to defend the rights of its shareholders, with all the resulting consequences."
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV