"There is a law, under which we have entrusted Rosneft and Gazprom with work on the (Arctic) shelf. If TNK-BP offers suitable terms of joint work to one of the companies, it can (participate), why not?" Putin said, RIA Novosti reported Saturday.
Three reserve fields in the Kara Sea, East Prinovozemelsk 1, 2 and 3, are estimated to hold 5 billion tons of oil and 10 trillion cubic meters of natural gas.
British petroleum giant BP agreed in January to a deal valued at more than $8 billion to buy 9.5 percent of Rosneft and participate in Kara Sea development. But TNK-BP shareholders said the deal violated a previous agreement with BP to have all deals in Russia funneled through them.
Putin said BP claimed the agreement was "not absolute and universal, saying they work, for instance, on Sakhalin without TNK, and they hope to solve the conflict amicably or find a compromise."
Putin said if they did not reach an agreement, it would be up to the courts to sort through the disagreement.