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28 May, 2008 03:40

Shareholders split over sale of UK-Russian oil giant

The major shareholders of British Petroleum’s Russian joint-venture, TNK-BP, are reported to be in conflict over the future of the company. Oil industry analysts are predicting that the firm might finally be sold to a Russian state-run energy giant &

Three Russian partners own 50% of the company: Renova Group, Alfa Group and Access Industries. They are planning to replace the existing TNK-BP CEO, Robert Dudley, with the tycoon Viktor Vekselberg, according to Kommersant business daily on Monday.

However, BP has told the RIA Novosti news agency it fully supports Dudley.

Analyst Dmitry Lyutyagin from Solid Investment told RT the sides are on a collision course.

“Whenever there is a major conflict, both sides are aiming to eliminate the other while keeping control of the company. They are hoping a powerful partner, in this case a state-owned giant, would take over their rival’s stake,” Dmitry Lyutyagin said.

Gazprom agreed to buy TNK-BP’s Kovytka field last year. Experts say it is eyeing the company itself, at the very least the 50% stake owned by Russian shareholders.