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Russia OK with BP-Rosneft deal?

MOSCOW, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- A deal between British energy company BP and Russia's Rosneft is in line with international rules, Russia's first deputy prime minister said.

TNK-BP, a joint venture between a group of Russian billionaires and BP, is at odds with parent BP and Russian oil company Rosneft over an asset swap that included exploration deals in the Russian arctic.

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BP last month agreed to pay Rosneft more than $8 billion in shares for a 9.5 percent stake in the Russian energy company in addition to a development agreement for the Kara Sea on Russian's northern continental shelf.

A London court, however, placed a temporary injunction on the deal following a lawsuit filed by Alfa Access-Renova, a consortium representing the billionaire owners of the Russian half of TNK-BP.

Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, however, said there weren't any legal issues with the deal between the two companies.

"When the deal was in the process of preparation, BP and Rosneft worked with top-notch lawyers," he was quoted by Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying. "We have received the necessary assurances from BP that all the rights that are created as a result of the transaction are protected by international law."

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Rosneft officials said they hoped the London court issue wouldn't get in the way of the deal.

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