TNK-BP investor Viktor Vekselberg 'still upset' with BP

Mr Vekselberg said he understood why BP would want to find a new state-owned business partner

One of the Russian investors in the TNK-BP joint venture has told the BBC he is still upset with BP.

"I was very upset. I am still upset now," he said of the UK oil firm's decision to sign a new deal with state-owned Rosneft without consulting them.

The Russian investor, whose company owns 12.5% of TNK-BP, indicated he and his partners would be willing to sell their stakes.

But he said they had yet to receive an "interesting proposal" from any buyer.

His comments come after an arbitration panel in London last month upheld a court injunction on an Arctic exploration deal that BP had signed with Russian state-owned oil firm Rosneft.

The panel agreed that the new deal broke promises BP had made to its Russian partner firm AAR - which includes Mr Vekselberg, chairman of the Renova group of companies - when they first set up the TNK-BP joint venture.

Mr Vekselberg's latest remarks over a possible sale of his and his Russian colleagues' stake in TNK-BP are a sign that the impasse with BP can be overcome, says the BBC's business editor, Robert Peston.

"It offers hope to BP, perhaps for the first time, that it may be able to buy AAR out of the joint venture by the time of the May 16 extended deadline set by Rosneft," he says.

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It implies, perhaps for the first time, that there may be a solution to a dispute that has damaged BP's reputation and jeopardised the value of its very substantial assets in Russia”

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"But here's the question? Is the price that Mr Vekselberg and his fellow billionaires will accept one that BP's owners will see as acceptable?"

In the interview for the BBC's Russian Business Report, Mr Vekselberg claimed to have a strong personal involvement in the oil venture, and that the matter was not simply one of money.

"I dedicated for that company almost 15 years," he said, adding that he would be doubly upset if he had to sell his stake, because "it means you sell a piece of your life."

In a more conciliatory note, Mr Vekselberg said he understood why BP had chosen to seek a state-owned business partner in Russia.

But he was surprised that the UK firm had agreed the Rosneft deal without any consultation.

You can find out more and see the interview in full on Russia Business Report on BBC World News this weekend. Saturday 30 April at 0330 GMT and 1830 GMT and Sunday 1 May at 1130 GMT and 1830 GMT.

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