A Stockholm tribunal on Thursday ruled that the British oil giant BP's Arctic exploration deal with Rosneft would fall foul of the terms of a previous shareholder agreement with its existing billionaire Russian partners.
The four businessmen, who jointly own BP's Russian arm TNK-BP, have been trying their best to stall the deal since its announcement in mid-January, as they consider Rosneft a rival.
The billionaires - Mikhail Fridman, Len Blavatnik, Viktor Vekselberg and German Khan want to route all BP's dealings in Russia, including the Arctic exploration agreement, via TNK-BP. The billionaires are tied under the corporate entity AAR (Alfa-Access-Renova) which they claim is a long term strategic investor in TNK-BP.
However, both BP and Rosneft have not given up on the partnership yet and yesterday, Igor Sechin, Russia's powerful deputy prime minister and chairman of Rosneft, describing the ruling as only an injunction said, "We want to follow the plan. We are satisfied with BP as a partner."
However, he added that Rosneft was considering who was responsible for the deal coming unstuck and suggested that the state-controlled oil giant could seek compensation off one or both parties.
The setback, however, has not seriously dented BP's share price decline only 1.38 to 479.52p, as investors preferred to believe that chief executive Bob Dudley would be able to find a way out of the impasse over the deal.