How Things Work

David Cameron went to Russia for a reason. After his visit a court in Siberia overruled the court’s earlier decision on the seizure of BP’s documents at the suit of TNK-BP Holding.

The Commercial Court of Tyumen Region abolished the court order authorizing searches in the offices of BP Exploration Operating Company Limited (BP EOC). These searches took place on August 31 and September 1 and provoked an international scandal.

Technically, the decision to cancel the seizure was taken at the request of Rosneft. The state-owned oil leviathan said it did not want its confidential correspondence to be disclosed. Although Rosneft filed its objections on September 5, the court reached a decision only after David Cameron’s meeting with Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin. Robert Dudley, the executive director of BP, also took part in the consultations.

Rosneft planned a share-swap deal with BP and the joint exploration of the Arctic. However, this joint venture was wrecked by the consortium AAR (Alfa group, Access Industries, Renova), Russian shareholders of TNK-BP. They claimed that the agreement violated the shareholders’ agreement with TNK-BP. According to the agreement BP must conduct all its activities in Russia exclusively through TNK-BP.

In July, the minority shareholders of TNK-BP Holding filed a lawsuit against two board members, Peter Anthony Cherow and Richard Scott and the parent companies BP Plc and BP Russian Investments Limited. The plaintiffs claim that these individuals and legal entities are responsible for the fact that TNK-BP Holding was not able to close the share-swap and hence incurred losses of $3 billion.

The first court session over a lawsuit against Cherow and Sloan is set for October 12. The hearings of the case against BP and BP Investments Russia will begin on September 21. We expect to see David Cameron back in Moscow next week then.

picture: © Bello - Fotolia.com