AAR BP injunction slows Rosneft deal

Rosneft's shares have taken a hit, after London's High Court halted the Russian oil giant's deal with BP to explore the Arctic shelf.

The decision came after the Russian shareholders in joint Russian-British venture TNK-BP filed for an injunction preventing further movement or discussion on the Rosneft BP share swap and joint venture for Arctic development which was unveiled on January 14.AAR, which represents the Russian shareholders, says the deal between BP and Rosneft contravenes an agreement on the management of TNK-BP, in which BP is committed to giving TNK-BP the first right of refusal on any projects in Russia.

A London court has ordered both sides to participate in arbitration by February 25. Andrey Goltsblat, managing partner of Goltsblat BLP, says he thinks the move by AAR has an economic driver.

“I am sure, there is an economic reason behind it as well, because, TNK-BP, or AAR, might have some interest on those deposits, as well as BP – in particular the Arctic ones in the Barents Sea. And plus that might be a strategic part or different strategy which AARhas or might have.”

Rosneft has suggested an out-of-court settlement might be possible.

However, Michael Calvey, Founder of Baring Vostok Capital Partners, says that TNK-BP still could participate in the ambitious project.

“For TNK-BP shareholders want to participate in the deal, in particular if they want to participate in some major capital investments to explore for oil and gas in the Arctic shelf, they will be happy to.I mea,n the capital requirements there are so huge, there is plenty for everyone to invest, so I can’t imagine that would be a problem for all the parties.”