Royal Dutch Shell Group .com Rotating Header Image

Russians claim control of TNK-BP as court battle looms logo

Russians claim control of TNK-BP as court battle looms

Tim Webb

The Observer, 

Sunday July 27 2008

The Russian shareholders at war with BP claim to have seized majority control of the core board of joint venture TNK-BP.

AAR, which owns half of the Russian oil company, is also set to file legal proceedings in the UK or Sweden against its British partners as early as this week.

Last Thursday, the chief executive of TNK-BP, the BP-nominated Robert Dudley, had to leave Russia after his visa expired. BP, which reports second-quarter results this week, insists he remains in charge of the $32bn joint venture and will continue to operate it from abroad.

But the AAR shareholders, led by oligarch Mikhail Fridman, refuse to recognise Dudley. They say that in his absence, they have divided up responsibility for running the company among the four remaining ‘core directors’. These directors include two of the four oligarchs who make up AAR: Viktor Vekselberg, responsible for TNK-BP’s gas development business and German Khan, responsible – amongst other things – for government relations, business development, security and administration.

The other two core directors are Jim Owen, the venture’s finance officer who is independent of AAR and BP, and BP-nominated Tim Summers, the chief operating officer of TNK-BP, who remains in charge of overall operations.

Because of Dudley’s absence, AAR claims to have carved out greater influence over the running of the business, with Vekselberg and Khan now having a majority over BP’s remaining one core director in Russia.

BP denies that Dudley’s decision to leave Russia has weakened its position. Last week BP issued a statement pledging to ‘use all means at its disposal, both inside and outside of Russia, to defend its interests and rights as a 50 per cent shareholder in TNK-BP’.

BP is also considering starting arbitration in Sweden, the jurisdiction that both sides agreed to use for dispute resolution when setting up the venture in 2003.

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

Comments are closed.