Rosneft, BP agree to start talks on possible purchase of stake in TNK-BP

Rosneft has informed BP of its interest in the possible acquisition of a stake held by BP in the TNK-BP  joint venture, Rosneft said in a statement.

"Rosneft announces that, in connection with BP's recent statements regarding its intention to pursue a potential sale of its participation in TNK-BP, Rosneft has informed BP of Rosneft's interest in a potential acquisition of such participation," Rosneft said.

"As a result, the parties agreed to commence negotiations on this matter and signed a non-disclosure agreement. Rosneft has been informed that the other TNK-BP shareholders have also indicated their interest in acquiring part or all of BP's participation and that BP has an obligation under the shareholders' agreement to negotiate in good faith with the other shareholders. Rosneft believes that an acquisition of BP's interest in TNK-BP would be in the best interest of both Rosneft's and BP's shareholders and would lead to further development of TNK-BP."

"There can be no assurance that Rosneft and BP will enter into any transaction involving TNK-BP," Rosneft said. "A further announcement will be made when and if appropriate," it said.

BP said on July 18 that it was beginning the next stage in the process, required under the TNK-BP shareholder agreement, regarding the potential sale of its shareholding in TNK-BP. This follows the decision of Alfa Access-Renova (AAR) to exercise its right to enter a period of negotiation to purchase part/all of BP's 50 per cent share in TNK-BP, BP said. "As a result BP will  enter into a 90-day period of "good faith" negotiations with Alfa Access-Renova as required by the TNK-BP shareholder agreement on July 19," BP said.

BP informed AAR on June 1 of the possibility that it might sell its stake in TNK-BP.

BP said on July 18 that it was also able to and will enter into negotiations with other interested parties in parallel for the sale of its share in TNK-BP.

TNK-BP is owned by BP and AAR on equal terms.

AAR said recently that it had notified BP of its desire to enter into negotiations to buy a stake in TNK-BP from it. In May this year, after BP said there was interest in buying its stake, AAR publicly said it was prepared to buy 25% of TNK-BP at its "current market value."

Analysts have told Interfax that 50% of TNK-BP might be worth anything from $20 billion to $35 billion, depending how much the dispute between the shareholders affects share prices. The consensus is that the stake is worth around $30 billion.

TNK-BP co-owner Mikhail Fridman thinks a 50% stake in the company has a current market value of $20 billion. AAR offered to buy 25% of the company a few months ago as it believed the existing 50/50 ownership had outlived its usefulness.

AAR was also prepared to consider selling its own stake in TNK-BP in exchange for shares in BP itself plus cash over five-to-seven years.

TNK-BP is a leading Russian oil company, with a diversified upstream and downstream portfolio in Russia and Ukraine and international interests in Brazil, Venezuela and Vietnam. The company was formed in 2003 as the result of the merger of BP's Russian oil and gas assets and the oil and gas assets oil of Alfa Access Renova.

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