BP’s CEO Heralds Its Unique Russian Position Amid Ukraine Crisis

BP Plc Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley said its shareholding in Russia’s largest oil producer gives his company a unique position as the world watches the crisis over Ukraine.

“We will seek to continue our business activities mindful that the mutual dependence between Russia as an energy supplier and Europe as an energy consumer has been an important source of security and engagement for both parties,” Dudley told BP’s annual general meeting in London today.

“That has got to continue and I think we play an important role and a bridge,” he said. “We do have a unique position.”

BP acquired 20 percent of OAO Rosneft last year as part of an exchange for its half of Russia’s third-largest oil company. Rosneft, run by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s close associate Igor Sechin, became the largest publicly traded crude oil producer after the deal, pumping about 5 percent of world output.

Russia has ratcheted up pressure on its Ukrainian neighbor after annexing Crimea last month, ignoring sanctions from the U.S. and European Union, massing troops along its eastern border and raising gas prices.

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