AAR consortium, a BP partner in its TNK-BP Russian joint venture, has filed suit at a Stockholm tribunal to demand hearings on a breach by BP of TNK-BP's shareholder agreement, an AAR official said on Monday.
If the tribunal rules in AAR's favor, it can initiate court hearings to demand $10-billion in compensation from BP, the official told the Prime news agency.
BP and AAR, which represents four billionaires of Russian origin, has been litigating since early this year, when BP announced it had struck a $16-billion deal with Rosneft oil major to swap shares and explore the Russian Arctic together. AAR says the deal broke TNK-BP's 2008 shareholder agreement under which partners had to offer all energy projects to TNK-BP first.
AAR then went to the Stockholm tribunal, which froze the deal and ordered BP to develop the project together with TNK-BP, but Rosneft said it did not see AAR as a partner.
"AAR expects hearings on the issue to take place this fall," the source said.
"AAR is sure that actions by BP, which did not include TNK-BP into the joint Arctic project and share swap with Rosneft, while the shareholders' agreement says it should have been done, led to significant losses for TNK-BP. The losses occurred due to lost opportunities from the Arctic deal and BP-Rosneft share swap as well as negative impact on TNK-BP's operational activities of worsened relations of the company with the Russian government and Rosneft due to the conflict."
Kommersant quoted BP, which pinned hopes of replenishing its reserves on the Rosneft deal after the Gulf of Mexico disaster, as saying that t would defend itself in all courts.
The source said that the damage would be demanded by TNK-BP from BP in a British court.
"It'll be separate court proceedings which will involve TNK-BP management and board of directors, which must agree the filing of suit against BP and directors from BP," the source said.
Last week, BP filed a suit at the Stockholm tribunal against Renova, part of AAR, for over AAR's failure to offer TNK-BP energy projects it runs in Russia and Ukraine first. BP said Renova's breach of the agreement preceded that of BP.
Renova says TNK-BP's board considered the projects, but made no decision.