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“Bp Snared By Sanctions Against Russia”
by The Vancouver Sun   
April 30th, 2014
BP snared by sanctions against Russia

The United States’s tightening of the noose yet further on the Russian economy, by imposing sanctions on the kingpin of Russia’s oil industry, could have serious consequences.

Igor Sechin, chairman of Russia’s top oil producer Rosneft, is a former KGB official from the inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He is thought to be the mastermind of the Kremlin’s energy strategy and Russia’s second most powerful man. His deputy has also been targeted.

Rosneft is the world’s biggest traded oil company, producing 2.5 million barrels a day and paying $75 billion a year in taxes to the Russian state. But the blacklisting move by Washington also creates a legal and political tangle for BP, which owns 19.75 per cent of Rosneft’s shares under a legacy deal from the TNK-BP venture.

It is unclear whether BP’s chief executive, Bill Dudley, can continue to sit on Rosneft’s board if Sechin remains in control. The U.S. Treasury statement said that “U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealing with” anybody on the sanctions blacklist. Dudley is an American citizen.

For now the beleaguered British oil group is once again trying to put the best face on its disastrous misadventures in Russia. “We are committed to our investment in Rosneft, and we intend to remain a successful, long-term investor in Russia,” said a spokesman.

Shares in BP fell more than 1.5 per cent on the news of the sanctions before recovering slightly, closing down one per cent at 488.35 pence ($8.22 US).

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