MOSCOW, November 14 - RAPSI. The AAR consortium (Alfa Group, Access, Renova) and BP, each holding a 50 percent stake in TNK-BP, have settled their claims out of court on the eve of the sale of TNK-BP shares to Rosneft, thus opting against participating in the trial at the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, Kommersant daily news reported on Wednesday.
In 2003, three leading Russian companies - Mikhail Fridman's Alfa Group, Leonid Blavatnik's Access Industries, and Viktor Vekselberg's Renova - formed the consortium, which represents the interests of the Russian shareholders in the company.
In January 2011, Rosneft and BP agreed on an equity swap, in which the Russian company would receive five percent of BP's ordinary shares in exchange for 9.5 percent of Rosneft's shares. The companies also agreed to develop the Arctic's Russian shelf in partnership. However, the consortium stated in its lawsuit that the transaction was blocked by the High Court of Justice, to which AAR had referred its claims.
The Stockholm Arbitration Institute upheld the ruling, but proceedings followed, as the court had to establish that the shareholders agreement was violated.
In August 2011, BP referred to the Stockholm Arbitration Institute with a counterclaim against Vekselberg. BP maintained that Renova's ownership of gas and gas-distributing assets in Russia and Ukraine via KES-Holding violated the shareholders agreement.
In May, BP announced its plans to leave TNK-BP and to enter into talks with Rosneft. Under the threat of the transaction, AAR offered to reach an amicable agreement with BP, according to Kommersant daily's sources close to the talks. However, BP eventually sold 50 percent of TNK-BP to Rosneft for $17.1 billion and 12.83 percent of its treasury shares. Rosneft then agreed to buy another 50 percent.The cessation of trials was a term of the settlement, Kommersant reported.
Other hearings in Stockholm have been held recently, but the parties told the court that the conflict is now settled. According to Kommersant, BP paid AAR $325 million in compensation for withdrawing its claims. BP has refused to comment.
BP is the world's third largest oil major company employing over 80,000 people.
TNK-BP is a leading Russian oil company and is among the top ten privately-owned oil companies in the world in terms of crude oil production.
Rosneft is Russia's leading oil company and one of the worlds largest oil and gas companies. The state-owned Rosneftgaz is its primary shareholder with a 75.16 percent stake in the company.