FT: Rosneft CEO Says Putin Backs BP, Rosneft Plan for TNK-BP

LONDON - Russian President Vladimir Putin backs BP PLC's plan to sell its 50% stake in TNK-BP to state-controlled OAO Rosneft and use some of the proceeds to buy Rosneft shares, the head of the Russian company told the Financial Times in a story published Wednesday.

"[Rosneft] will have the opportunity to acquire a strategic investor," the paper quoted Rosneft Chief Executive Igor Sechin as saying, "so we do support this, and the president also spoke in support of this."

Mr. Sechin said Mr. Putin had the last word. "Considering the fact that Rosneft is a strategic company ... the main parameters of the deal have to be agreed with the presidential administration," he said, the FT reported.

Mr. Sechin said acquiring half of TNK-BP would be a good strategic fit for Rosneft, with the company's crude feeding into its many refineries both in Russia and continental Europe.

He said he was already in "daily contact" with German Khan, TNK-BP's executive director, "on the joint use of oil infrastructure so as to lower transport costs and achieve synergies," the paper said.


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