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16 Dec, 2009 14:42

Royal visitor points to TNK-BP’s future after shareholder disputes

Britain's special trade representative, the Duke of York, has paid a visit to energy company TNK-BP in what is being seen as a sign British and Russian shareholders have put their disputes behind them.

Entering a new era of good relations between U.K. oil giant, BP, and Russian consortium, AAR. The official visit of the U.K. special representative on trade and investment, the Duke of York, marks the warming of commercial relations between Russia and U.K.

The Prince spoke of his increased understanding of the cooperation and its role in Russia’s oil sector.

“I've had an opportunity of seeing and learning more about how the technology that BP has been able to bring to the partnership has helped and how TNK-BP are now developing new fields in Russia.”

With a 50% stake in the company, BP is one of the largest investors in Russia.

TNK-BP is one of the 10 largest oil companies in the world, accounting for a quarter of BP’s oil production, and contributing 1.6 million barrels per day.

The highly public shareholder conflict between BP and AAR was part of a chain of negative news in the summer of 2008 that damaged Russia’s investment image.

The visit of the UK Special representative goes some way to repair that. But, as ever, it's money that talks the loudest.

And the company’s strong performance, based on fusing international technology and investment with Russian natural resources. Interim Chief Executive Officer and Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors at TNK-BP, Mikhail M. Fridman, says it shows that Russia’s energy sector remains attractive.

"This example of joint business between the largest British company and Russian shareholders, is not just a commercial enterprise but also an example of successful cooperation between Russian and Western countries."

With foreign direct investment down by half this year – Russia's energy sector will be hoping the high-profile British visit signals a new beginning.