BP/Rosneft Deal On Hold Until March

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A London court has extended the injunction delaying BP's controversial $16 billion share swap with OAO Rosneft, Russia's largest oil company, until March. BP, Europe's second-largest oil company, said that an arbitral tribunal has set a final hearing for the week of March 7.

Last month, Russian investors in TNK-BP, BP's joint venture in Russia, sued to block the deal with Rosneft on the grounds that the transaction violated TNK-BP's shareholder rights agreement. TNK-BP said it has exclusive rights to BP's business dealings in Russia and that the deal with Rosneft could put TNK-BP at a competitive disadvantage.

BP (BP) and TNK-BP have since agreed to speed up the resolution process. As part of the share swap with Rosneft, the Russian company will own 5% of BP and the two companies will explore for oil together in three blocks of the Russian area of the Arctic Circle. BP believes the deal does not violate its shareholder agreement with TNK-BP.

In January, a judge at the High Court in London granted an injunction to TNK-BP until Feb. 25 and the two sides at the time agreed to go to arbitration proceedings in Stockholm, the Financial Times reported.