TNK-BP Taking BP Back To Court

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Just when it looked as if the legal wrangling between BP and its joint Russian venture TNK-BP had abated, the Russian firm is taking its British counterpart back to court to evaluate whether BP, Europe's second-largest oil company, violated its shareholder rights agreement with TNK-BP when the former pursued a share swap and Arctic exploration alliance OAO Rosneft, Russia's largest oil company.

The announcement comes less than a week before BP and TNK-BP, Russia's third-largest oil company, are slated to release their latest quarterly results. The move is the first stage of a process designed to win billions of dollars in compensation from BP for the alleged damage done to the TNK-BP joint venture, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a source close to TNK-BP.

TNK-BP had stridently opposed BP's (BP) plans with Rosneft, claiming the Arctic exploration alliance posed a competitive threat to the venture and that it violated TNK-BP's rights to having the first crack at BP's Russian businesses. BP and Rosneft nearly paid $32 billion to acquire the half of TNK-BP BP does not own, but those negotiations collapsed in May.

People inside the joint venture say that the parties came so close to a deal that they expect the negotiations to start up again and it is believed that the latest ploy by TNK-BP could restart talks by BP and Rosneft to make another run at TNK-BP, the Journal reported.