BP has proposed buying Russia Rosneft stake: Rosneft CEO
Reuters Business News | September 21, 2012

By Melissa Akin

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - BP Plc's <BP.L> bosses have told Russian President Vladimir Putin that the British oil major would like to buy a stake in Russian crude oil giant Rosneft <ROSN.MM>, Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin said on Friday.

The proposal put by BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley and Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg would be part of a complex deal in which Rosneft would take BP's stake in the $60 billion TNK-BP <TNBP.MM> venture, the Anglo-Russian oil producer 50 percent-owned by BP, he said.

BP's management proposed the deal during a meeting with Putin this week, in which they assured Russia's president that any proceeds of a sale in TNK-BP would be reinvested in Russian projects, including Rosneft itself, Sechin said.

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Powerful former deputy premier Sechin is a close ally of Putin and his comments, made at a forum in Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi, stole the limelight from Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev who is hosting the event.

There have been increasing signs that Russia's leader has been losing patience with his second-in-command. Putin issued a rare rebuke of Medvedev's government at Sochi on Tuesday, by criticizing its fiscal plans.

Putin met Dudley, Svanberg and Sechin at his Black Sea retreat in Sochi on Tuesday evening to discuss "broadening" BP's presence in Russia, the Russian leader's spokesman previously said.

BP is seeking to exit its troubled but lucrative investment in TNK-BP, Russia's third-largest oil company, which it formed with a consortium of Russian tycoons nearly a decade ago to tap the country's vast energy reserves.

In July, BP entered a 90-day period to talk to potential buyers including the AAR consortium which represents the tycoons, and Rosneft.

The structure of a deal has not yet been fully developed, Sechin said.

Sechin said AAR had not offered to sell its stake in TNK-BP but he would be willing to discuss a purchase if one was made.

He added Rosneft has no plans itself to buy shares in BP.

(Reporting by Melissa Akin, Denis Pinchuk and Katya Golubkova, Writing by Megan Davies; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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