BP and Rosneft extend share swap deadline

BP today said that it has agreed with Rosneft to extend the deadline for completing the share swap agreement announced in January to 16 May 2011.

The agreement between the two companies followed the decision of the arbitral tribunal today to allow them to discuss extension of the deadline.

"This means that the share swap agreement will now not terminate on 14 April 2011," BP said in a statement.

The share swap agreement, between BP and Rosneft, together with the related proposed exploration in tghe resource rich Arctic region, were originally announced on 14 January 2011.

Under the deal the two companies had agreed to swap shares worth $16 billion in exchange for the right to search for oil together in a hydrocarbon-rich part of the Russian Arctic. (See: BP signs $7.8-bn strategic alliance with Roseneft for Arctic resources)

The alliance, however, has run into trouble with BP's partners in another Russian joint venture, TNK-BP, a group of billionaires collectively known as AAR, who claim that the BP-Rosneft alliance violated the terms of their shareholder agreement with BP, under which both partners can pursue investment opportunities in Russia only through TNK-BP.

They followed up with winning a series of legal victories put a spanner in the BP-Rosneft deal.