TNK-BP ready to swap for BP Algeria goods

SONATRACH AND RUSSIA'S TNK-BP are both interested in BP's Algerian assets, and TNK-BP could offer the Algerian state oil company a swap to obtain them, Russia's Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said recently.


Shmatko, in the Algerian capital with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on a state visit, said no deal was expected within the next one to two months.

TNK-BP deputy head Maxim Barsky, also in Algeria with the presidential delegation, said Prime Minister Vladimir Putin sent a letter to his Algerian counterpart asking him to approve the sale of BP's Algeria assets to the Russian oil company.

Among BP's assets in Algeria are two large gas developments, In Salah and In Amenas, operated jointly with Norway's StatoilHydro and Sonatrach, with average annual output of gas totalling 18bn cu m.

Barsky said BP's gas assets were worth up to three billion dollars and his company would be able to finance an outright purchase.

One of TNK-BP's largest shareholders, Moscow-based billionaire Mikhail Fridman, who together with partners controls 50 per cent of the Russian oil producer, said any deal was doomed without political support from Russia's leadership.

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