TNK-BP FD under pressure as oil venture turns sour

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Uncertainty hung over the position of the finance director of BP’s Russian
joint venture this week as pressure continued to mount on the oil giant and its

James Owen is now the most senior executive for TNK-BP in Russia after the
company last week pulled its CEO Robert Dudley out of the country amid claims of
growing harassment and threats to his visa status.

Analysts believe that as a high-profile British figure still based in the
country, Owen may find
himself under greater pressure if what has been interpreted as moves by the
company’s Russian partners to seize control of the joint venture continue.

One analyst said it was unclear whether Owen would stay. ‘It remains to be
seen,’ said Fadel Gheit, veteran analyst at US investment bank Oppenheimer. ‘The
Russian partners are trying to seize control by hook or by crook. The sooner BP
gets out of this mess, the better.’

One oil FD with experience of working in Russia said: ‘Normally the Russians
operate by starting with confrontation and only settling down to a position

Executives with experience of working in Russia have spoken of having hotel
rooms searched and emails intercepted. The source added if Owen left it could be
seen as ‘an admission of defeat.’

BP said the CFO was still based in Russia for the foreseeable future. ‘James
Owen is still the CFO of TNK-BP’ said a BP spokesman.

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