BP eyes $4bn buyback with Russian cash

British oil company BP may use the proceeds from the sale of its stake TNK-BP to purchase $4 billion worth of its own shares, after agreeing last week to pay record criminal fines for the 2010 Gulf oil disaster.

­It may be a part of a strategy to compensate shareholders for losses due to the costs associated with the Deepwater Horizon accident, the Financial Times reports.

The oil company believes it could safely spend up to $5.9 billion to revive its flagging shares, which are worth a third less than before the disaster, according to the Sunday Times.

BP has signed an agreement with Russia’s Rosneft to sell its entire stake in the joint venture TNK-BP. Rosneft will pay $17.1 billion and 12.84% of its shares for the stake. BP’s share in Rosneft will increase to 19.75% after the deal goes through.

BP management will decide whether to buy-back only after the deal with Rosneft is completed, which is expected in the first half of 2013. FT experts believe BP will implement the buy-back only after it resolves all conflicts and claims related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP will pay the US a settlement worth $4.5 billion, including $1.3 in criminal fines. This breaks the US record for criminal penalties of $1.2 billion previously held by drug maker Pfizer. The US Justice Department announced on Thursday that two BP employees have been indicted for manslaughter over their involvement in the disaster that killed 11 workers.