Another Legal Battle Involving BP, TNK-BP

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A group of minority investors in TNK-BP, BP's joint Russian venture with oligarch investors, are suing the British oil giant for $3 billion in damages they contend stem from the collapse of BP's proposed share swap with OAO Rosneft, Russia's largest oil company. The Rosneft pact, which would have seen BP team with the Russian oil major to explore for oil in Russia's Arctic region, collapsed earlier this year.

The plaintiffs say TNK-BP could have profited if it was allowed to replace BP as Rosneft's partner in the Arctic alliance. The merits of that charge may face hurdles in court because Rosneft was consistent in its stance that it did not TNK-BP to participate in the Arctic partnership.

The shareholders' claim has been filed to Tyumen arbitration court in Siberia and hearings will take place Sept. 21 and Oct. 12, according to Bloomberg News. On Tuesday, BP (BP), Europe's second-largest oil company, filed a suit accusing TNK-BP shareholder Renova Group of breaching TNK-BP's shareholder rights agreement.

TNK-BP accounts for 20% of BP's reserves and a quarter of BP's total output. BP and Rosneft previously tried to acquire the half of TNK-BP not currently owned by BP, but those talks fell apart in May.

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