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Vekselberg offers peace plan in TNK-BP row – paper

Viktor Vekselberg, one of a group of four Russian billionaires that jointly own 50% in TNK-BP offered a four-point plan to end a dispute with the joint venture’s partner BP, a British paper said on Thursday.

The ongoing row between the Russian AAR consortium of shareholders in TNK-BP and the British oil major, each owning 50% in Russia’s third largest oil producer, has been over company strategy, with the Russian investors also demanding cuts in the number of foreign staff working in Russia. According to The Times, the venture’s UK and Russian shareholders are expected to meet on Friday for a board meeting of TNK-BP International, the venture’s parent company and the agenda will include Vekselberg’s peace plan.

Vekselberg’s proposals include a call for TNK-BP entire management to leave at the start of 2009, with BP retaining the right to elect the joint venture’s CEO, the paper said. Vekselberg made an attempt on Monday to convene an emergency meeting of the joint venture’s board of directors to dismiss CEO Robert Dudley and elect a new, independent executive. However, Dudley managed to hold on to his post. The second point in Vekselberg’s plan includes the proposal that the number of directors at the ventures subsidiaries be split evenly among BP and Russian shareholders, the paper said.

In addition, Vekselberg whose Renova Group holds 12.5% in TNK-BP, proposed changing the status of second workers in Russia in a move to cut the number of BP foreign staff at the company, the paper said. Finally, Vekselberg proposed restoring a power of attorney for Russian executives at the venture, the paper said. “We want to find a peaceful solution,” the paper quoted Vekselberg as saying. At the same time, Vekselberg said the Russian shareholders would seek international arbitration if an agreement with BP could not be reached. (