BP CEO Tony Hayward Will Meet With Russian Officials in Moscow Next Week

BP Plc Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward will be in Moscow June 28-29 for talks with Russian government officials, said Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

“We’re planning the meetings,” Peskov said by phone in Moscow today. “We know he’ll be in Moscow on those dates.”

The participants and date haven’t been set yet, Peskov said. No meeting is scheduled with Putin, he said. Vladimir Buyanov, a spokesman for BP in Moscow, declined to comment on the schedules of company executives.

BP, which agreed to deposit $20 billion to cover cleanup costs and compensation claims for the worst oil spill in U.S. history, owns half of TNK-BP, Russia’s third-largest crude producer and bought $1 billion of shares in state-run OAO Rosneft’s initial public offering in 2006.

The spill in the Gulf of Mexico cut BP’s market value by 54 percent since the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig. Shares dropped to a 14-year low today even after BP said it could access $15 billion in cash and credit lines, abandoned dividends for three quarters and planned $10 billion in asset sales.

‘Happy Investor’

BP may sell its holding in Rosneft as well as gas assets and stakes in oil projects in the Gulf of Mexico as it seeks to raise $10 billion to repay victims of the spill, Handelsblatt said June 22, without saying how it obtained the information.

BP is a “happy investor” in Rosneft, Russia’s biggest oil producer, David Peattie, the head of BP in Russia, told reporters in St. Petersburg last week. BP hadn’t sold any shares in Rosneft and didn’t plan to, he said.

Rosneft CEO Sergei Bogdanchikov said a day earlier that he doubts BP will need to sell the shares and hasn’t consulted the company about a possible sale.

Viktor Vekselberg, a billionaire shareholder in TNK-BP, said BP will probably hold on to its half of the oil venture, which provides about a quarter of BP’s output and reserves. TNK- BP’s traded unit has its annual meeting on June 30.

“I think TNK-BP is a brilliant in BP portfolio,” Vekselberg said June 8, speaking in English. “Brilliant” is the Russian word for a cut diamond. “It would be the last decision from them.”

Alexei Miller, the CEO of OAO Gazprom, the world’s largest natural-gas producer, said today he won’t meet with Hayward next week as he’s on vacation then.

“I’d love to meet him” to discuss a number of issues including the Gulf of Mexico, Miller said.

Gazprom is interested in buying a stake in the BP-led Shah Deniz project in Azerbaijan’s part of the Caspian Sea, Miller said. No offer has been made, he said.

BP should sell shares now to ease concerns about the company’s creditworthiness as the cost of insuring its debt against default climbs to a record, Nomura analyst Alastair Syme said June 25.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maria Kolesnikova in Moscow at mkolesnikova@bloomberg.net

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