Russian oil firm to take BP stake

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BP chief executive Bob Dudley, left and Rosneft chief executive Eduard Khudainatov shake hands

A Russian government-owned firm will own a 5% stake in BP as part of a “groundbreaking” global alliance, it has been announced.

The UK oil giant will own 9.5% of Rosneft’s shares in the share swap which will see the companies work together in exploring potentially lucrative reserves in the Arctic.

BP chief executive Bob Dudley hailed the agreement as “a new type of relationship” which could open up “one of the world’s last remaining unexplored basins”.

Igor Sechin, Russia’s deputy prime minister, said: “Global capital and Russian companies are clearly ready to invest in world class projects in Russia; and Russian companies are quickly emerging at the forefront of the global energy industry.”

Mr Dudley said: “This unique agreement underlines our long-term, strategic and deepening links with the world’s largest hydrocarbon-producing nation. We are very pleased to be joining Russia’s leading oil company to jointly explore some of the most promising parts of the Russian Arctic, one of the world’s last remaining unexplored basins.

“Underpinning this alliance is a new type of relationship based on a significant cross-shareholding, and bringing together technology, exploration and safe and responsible field development skills. We are very pleased to welcome Rosneft as a strategic partner and major shareholder in the BP Group.”

Rosneft’s president, Eduard Khudainatov, said: “I am pleased that in just a few months we’ve significantly moved forward in implementing Russia’s offshore strategy. In its operations, our future joint venture will utilise the experience and expertise of BP, one of the leaders in the global oil and gas industry. This project is unique in its complexity and scale both for Russia and the global oil and gas industry. We see it as the next step in developing our relations with BP.”

BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said: “The world’s need for energy continues to increase. BP is working with national oil companies using its leading exploration skills and expertise to meet this demand.

“This is a trend which will increase as access to resource becomes scarcer. This landmark deal creates a deep partnership which represents a new stage in these relationships.”

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said the British Government welcomed the new partnership. “It is a groundbreaking deal”, he said, adding: “It is good news for Europe, for the UK, energy security and worldwide.” And after the events of last year, this showed that BP was “very much open for business”, Mr Huhne added.

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