In traditional style of the unusual world of Russian business the owners of TNK-PB, the tenth largest privately owned oil company in the world, has mounted a challenge to a business deal between the state backed energy giant Rosneft and British Petroleum (BP).
Earlier this week Rosneft announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that an agreement had been signed with BP to establish exploration of hydrocarbon resources in the Russian Arctic, which according to the company would provide economic benefits for the national economy for up to 30 years.
Under the terms of the agreement, the company negotiated in a share swap, BP now is a major shareholder with 10.8% of the shares in Rosneft, while the Russian state still owns a majority of over 75% of the company.
Rosneft will receive a 5% stake the BP.
The deal has the blessing from the most powerful Russian politicians, both President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister
Yet in a surprise move a case is being presented to the British High Court of Justice as the owners of Alfa-Access-Renova (AAR) are challenging the the deal between Rosneft and BP.
AAR’s has been mounted on a deal signed between BP and their joint venture TNK-BP which is believed to give the right of veto over major energy deals between Russian companies and BP.
AAR is owned by Mikhail Fridman, Viktor Vekselberg and Leonard Blavatnik
who represent some of Russia’s most wealthy.
Mikhail Fridman, is now considered to be the third richest Russian person, according to Forbes Magazine.
In defense of the action of BP, Chief Executive, Robert Dudley, stated that the original deal with TNK-BP allowed for share swaps with other Russian companies and jointly develop energy projects.
The court case will begin Wednesday February 3, 2011.
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