* Discussed cooperation in exploration, upstream projects
* Meeting amid reports of rift between Sechin and Timchenko
(Adds detail, Rosneft comments)
MOSCOW, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Russia's top crude producerRosneft said on Tuesday its powerful chief executiveIgor Sechin met the co-owners of international oil trading houseGunvor to discuss trading issues, amid reports of a rift betweenSechin and Gunvor's co-owner Gennady Timchenko.
Rosneft said Sechin, a long-standing confidant of RussianPresident Vladimir Putin, met Timchenko and Torbjorn Tornqvistat the Russian company's head office.
"The three discussed current aspects in cooperation,including trading and logistics, and also exchanged views on thepresent state of the global markets," Rosneft said in astatement.
They also discussed possible cooperation in jointexploration and production projects "that would help expand thepotential for partnership between the two companies".
Geneva-based Gunvor, a privately-owned company co-founded byTornqvist and Timchenko, was left with no Russian crude at thelast major tender organised by Rosneft. Gunvor's failure to winthe tender was a surprise, as previously it had routinely wonRosneft tenders.
Gunvor's spectacular rise in just a decade from obscurityinto an $80-billion annual revenue trading house, has longattracted controversy.
Several Russian opposition figures have suggested its successwas due to close ties between Timchenko and Putin. Whileacknowledging a long association, the two have denied they havea business connection.
There has been media speculation in Russia that Timchenkohas fallen out with Putin's main energy advisor Sechin, deputyprime minister until May.
"We have neutral, normal, working relations ... Thenewspapers are writing that we are quarrelling - it is wrong. Wedon't have any problems," Timchenko told Reuters in June in arare interview.
On Tuesday, Rosneft published pictures of Sechin huggingTimchenko, both with broad smiles, and the trio, includingTornqvist, holding a CSKA Moscow ice hockey team shirt.
To read the story on Rosneft's web site please click at
"The meeting was held in an atmosphere of good partnership,"Rosneft said.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Jason Bush andKeiron Henderson)
Keywords: ROSNEFT GUNVOR/