BP considers stake sale in Russian joint venture TNK-BP

British oil giant, BP today said that it will consider selling its stake in TNK-BP after it received unsolicited indications of interest for its stake in the Russian joint venture.
"In light of these unsolicited approaches and consistent with its commitment to maximising shareholder value, and its obligations under the shareholder agreement, BP has notified Alfa Access Renova (AAR) of its intention to pursue a potential sale," a statement said on Friday.

TNK-BP, which is Russia's third-largest oil producer, is owned equally by BP and AAR, a consortium of Russian shareholders.

The announcement comes a few days after TNK-BP's chief executive, Mikhail Fridman, said that he would be stepping down in 30 days "for personal reasons".

BP did not reveal the name of the interested parties for its stake in TNK-BP, which has a market value of $59 billion.

London-based BP has had an uneasy relationship with its partner over the years but matters came to a head last year when it had to abandon plans to form another joint venture to develop a vast Arctic oilfield with rival Russian state oil company OAO Rosneft after AAR successfully opposed the deal in a London court.
AAR, comprising four Russian billionaires, including Fridman, had opposed the JV on the grounds that the proposed alliance between BP and Rosneft violates a shareholder agreement that allows only TNK-BP to be the "primary vehicle" for any new opportunities in Russia for either party.

Speaking this week to the Kommersant business daily, Fridman warned that one of the two partners of TNK-BP need to take full control of the company and failure to do so would bring the company to a standstill.