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Fall of TNK-BP shares may look lucrative to potential buyers – Sechin

June 02, 2012, 3:49 UTC+3

The fall of TNK-BP shares may look lucrative to potential buyers, Rosneft President Igor Sechin told the media on Friday

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BERLIN, June 2 (Itar-Tass) —— The fall of TNK-BP shares may look lucrative to potential buyers, Rosneft President Igor Sechin told the media on Friday.

The news the BP may sell its stake in the TNK-BP project caused the latter’s shares slump 11 percent to 69.4 rubles a piece.

Asked if Mikhail Fridman’s interview to the daily Kommersant might have provoked the speculation about the sale of BP assets, Sechin said that “such a version does have the right to exist.

“Fridman speculated about either the buyout of the BP’s stake or a reduction of the AAR’s stake. That’s possible, but to say anything for certain you’ve’ got to be in the know. I cannot say I am completely informed about the relationship between the Cyprus company AAR and the BP,” Sechin said.

He also remarked that Rosneft had never contemplated buying the BP’s assets in the TNK-BP project. Such a decision can be made only after the market’s reaction has been studied.

“We have never given thought to this. Possibly, some sort of reaction will follow to that statement from the market. Probably, some action will ensure in the wake of this statement,” Sechin said, when asked if Rosneft or Rosneftegaz might be potential buyers of BP assets. In his opinion, the market should be given a chance to work for while.

The BP has received a proposal for selling its stake in the TNK-BP project from a Russian oil and gas company and also from a number of other potential buyers, British media said on Friday. However, as the BP’s official spokesman in London told Itar-Tass, all information about the transaction is strictly confidential and possibly may be made public in an official statement.

As the Financial Times has said, the transaction may yield the oil and gas giant over 30 billion dollars.

On Friday the BP company officially notified its partners it may sell its stake in the TNK-BP group.

Earlier reports said the Russian shareholders of the TNK-BP as represented by the AAR consortium had lost confidence in the BP as a partner. On Thursday Alfa-Bank head Pyotr Aven said the conflict between Russia’s TNK-BP shareholders with the BP was due to disloyalty of the directors from the British company to the Russian company’s strategic plans. He said the BP-nominated directors invariably worked in the interests of the British shareholder, which does not share the idea of the Russian company’s access to the global market of hydrocarbons.

“The BP is not interested in the TNK-BP’s operations abroad, because in that case the Russian company will be competing with the BP,” Aven said.

Mikhail Fridman stepped down as the chief executive officer of the TNK BP on May 28.

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