Kremlin keen on BP presence

June 21, 2012 at 6:11 AM

MOSCOW, June 21 (UPI) -- The Kremlin is interested in keeping British energy company BP working in the country despite corporate differences, a minister said.

BP in early June announced that it notified its Russian counterparts in joint venture TNK-BP of its interest in pursuing a potential sale of its stake.

TNK-BP is a joint venture between BP and Alfa Access Renova, a group representing business interests of consortium of Russian billionaires.

Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov was quoted by The Daily Telegraph newspaper in London as saying having an investor like BP working in the country was "a very valuable thing."

The relationship between the entities has been acrimonious at least since 2008. Bob Dudley, now the top executive at BP, left his Moscow offices at TNK-BP in 2008 when he served as the joint venture's chief, citing harassment from the Russians.

BP said in a June 1 statement it's received "unsolicited indications of interest" in its stake in TNK-BP. The company added, however, that there was "no guarantee" a transaction would take place and that it would make a further announced "if appropriate."

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