Vladimir Putin has advised both Rosneft and TNK-BP to cooperate with ‘such a respectable company as BP‘, and said that his initial approval for the Rosneft-BP tie-up was made without knowledge of ‘any mutual obligation to TNK-BP. We simply did not know anything about this.‘ He also repeated his earlier assertions that ‘The government does not interfere in the operations of companies‘. The share buyback announced by Rosneft yesterday ‘is widely seen in Russia as preparation for the state-controlled group’s planned controversial stock-swap with BP,’ says the FT. BP is suing Halliburton, which cemented the well that caused the Gulf of Mexico spill, for causing or contributing to the disaster, citing ‘improper conduct, errors and omissions, including fraud and concealment‘. Gazprom and Italy’s Eni have put on hold a deal on Libya’s Elephant oilfield, under which Eni would hand over of its 33% stake, due to political unrest. The Chinese Foreign Ministry is confident that the pipeline dispute between Transneft and CNPC can be resolved ‘in a positive way via friendly negotiations‘ (as opposed to via a lawsuit, as was suggested yesterday).