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BP to Restart Talks on TNK-BP Stake Sale: Report

CNBC.com
Tuesday, 7 Jun 2011 | 3:05 AM ET

BP is to restart stalled talks with Russian state oil company Rosneft to sell part of its stake in TNK-BP, the Wall Street Journal reported citing people familiar with the situation.

BP headquarters in London.
Sharon Lorimer
BP headquarters in London.

Top BP executives notified the Russian billionaire shareholders in TNK-BP on Monday that the London-listed company would write to them formally to announce its intention to sell down its 50 percent stake in TNK-BP sources told the WSJ.

BP did not deny or confirm the resumption of talks , according to the paper, which also reported that a person close to BP said there has been "no decision to sell any of BP's shares in TNK-BP." Last month’s talks fell through after an agreement could not be reached with the Russian shareholders, a consortium of billionaires known through their Alfa Access Renova (AAR) holding company.

AAR said the tie-up between BP and Rosneft announced in January would violate the terms of the agreement between the consortium and BP that created TNK-BP.

The BP and Rosneft tie up would enable the British company to explore and develop assets in Russia’s arctic region.

The stalled talks were seen as a major setback for BP as well as for Rosneft and top Russian officials, who had publicly backed the BP-Rosneft deal at its announcement in January.

Rosneft then said it was going to seek other foreign partners for the Arctic, including on the acreage it had offered to BP.

The WSJ reported that BP had threatened to sell half of its stake to Rosneft once before in a letter on May 2 but didn't go through with it because negotiations picked up after it made the warning.

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