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TNK-BP Said to Weigh Selling Out of Venezuelan Crude Oil Project

TNK-BP, the Russian oil venture half owned by BP Plc, wants to sell its stake in the Junin 6 block in Venezuela’s Orinoco crude belt to state-run OAO Rosneft, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

TNK-BP is considering its options for its share of Consorcio Ruso, a group of Russia’s five biggest oil producers that is helping develop the block, the people said, asking not to be identified while plans are at a preliminary stage.

The move by Russia’s third-biggest oil producer may follow OAO Surgutneftegas, which plans to exit the Junin 6 project, three people said, declining to comment on prices. Surgut’s talks are more advanced than TNK-BP’s plans, one person said.

TNK-BP is seeking about $200 million for its 20 percent of Consorcio Ruso group, Kommersant reported earlier today, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

Dmitry Sergeev, a spokesman for TNK-BP, declined to comment, as did Alexey Artemnenko, a spokesman for Surgut.

The Russian companies and Petroleos de Venezuela SA began production at the Junin 6 block at a Sept. 28 ceremony attended by Rosneft Chief Executive Officer Igor Sechin. PDVSA, as the Venezuelan state company is known, holds 60 percent of the Petromiranda venture, which is developing Junin 6, and the remaining 40 percent of the project is held in equal stakes by the companies in Consorcio Ruso.

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