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BP, Billionaires Ask TNK-BP Board Members to Review Rosneft Deal

BP Plc and its billionaire partners in TNK-BP asked the Russian oil venture’s three independent board members to review OAO Rosneft and the U.K. explorer’s planned alliance, said Alexander Shokhin, one of the directors.

The three will meet on Feb. 17, a day before the next board meeting, to discuss BP and Rosneft’s planned share swap and Arctic offshore project, Shokhin told reporters today in Moscow.

“We will have to hire lawyers so we can have our own position on the matter,” Shokhin said. His fellow independent directors are former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and James Leng, a senior adviser to HSBC Holdings Plc.

BP’s partners won an injunction against the share swap and Arctic deal through Feb. 25 and agreed to arbitration, saying the agreement violated their shareholders’ agreement. TNK-BP, Russia’s third-biggest oil producer, has the exclusive right to pursue new opportunities for BP in Russia, said AAR, which represents shareholders Mikhail Fridman, German Khan, Viktor Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik. State-run Rosneft is the country’s largest oil company.

TNK-BP’s board may discuss the deal at its Feb. 18 meeting, Shokhin said. BP and AAR each have four representatives in addition to the three independent directors.

“I don’t think we will have time to decide at the board meeting,” Shokhin said. An out-of-court resolution would be “the best option.”

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