Shake-up stirs TNK-BP

May 30, 2012 at 7:47 AM

LONDON, May 30 (UPI) -- Investors said the latest shake-up at the board of Russia's joint venture with BP suggests a breakup could be in the works.

The executive board at Anglo-Russian venture TNK-BP has lacked a quorum since former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder resigned from his position in December. Mikhail Fridman, the top executive at TNK-BP and one of the Russian oligarchs behind the joint venture, announced his resignation this week.

Unnamed investment analysts at UBS were quoted by The Daily Telegraph newspaper in London as saying BP would be "a cleaner investment" without the Russian oligarchs.

A proposed January 2011 deal between BP and Russian oil company Rosneft for work in the arctic collapsed after TNK-BP complained the proposal violated the terms of its shareholder agreement.

BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg last month said his company was keen on finding "other ways" to work in Russia.

A board shake-up in 2008 forced Bob Dudley from the top post at TNK-BP when he claimed he was harassed by the Russians. Dudley now serves as chief executive at BP.

TNK-BP needs to find replacements for Schroeder and Fridman to settle the latest row, the British newspaper reports.

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