BP’s Poor Judgment Led to its Russian Disaster

Last week in London, Robert Amsterdam hosted a breakfast seminar on resource nationalism in emerging markets.  Although the BP-Rosneft share swap had not yet completely disintegrated, the topic came up during the Q&A period.  One journalist did a short story which came out yesterday.  More on details on this latest business drama to come.

Robert Amsterdam, a lawyer and co-founder of Amsterdam Peroff, last week criticised the conduct of BP and other large western corporations in emerging markets as the deal headed to its downfall today.

Amsterdam says BP should not have assumed Rosneft and its close links with the authoritarian Russian state would ultimately overrule the interests of its other Russian partners, with whom BP has previously had high-profile disputes.

Igor Sechin, Russia’s first deputy prime minister, was the chairman of Rosneft at the time of the deal. However, Sechin has since left his post as part of a programme to pull politicians out of corporate jobs.

According to Amsterdam, major western firms are taking severe risks by placing their trust in authoritarian regimes.

As an example, he gives the behaviour of firms in Myanmar, a key country for energy firms which is run by a repressive political elite.