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Energy Blast – July 28, 2008

TNK-BP’s messy shareholder dispute has helped push Russia’s indexes into a downward spin.” In what appears to be a change in tactics, prosecutors in Moscow have denied issuing legal proceedings against the venture’s chief, Robert Dudley, who has reportedly set up a secret European headquarters “to try to keep control of the company”. TNK-BP’s Russian shareholders claim to have seized majority control of the board. The UK’s Foreign Office believes the Russian shareholders “manipulated elements of the Russian state bureaucracy”. The Washington Post believes “the government intends to force BP to turn over control of the oil company and its reserves to a state-owned firm.” Yuri Fedotov, Russia’s ambassador in London, denies government involvement in the row. The head of BP insists that the company “will not be intimidated”. The Telegraph says that Dudley’s exit from Russia is a “tipping point” for foreign investors. Immigration authorities have agreed to grant a visa to TNK-BP Chief Operating Officer Tim Summers. “The four oligarchs who control AAR, BP’s Russian joint venture partner, are deeply plugged in to some of the West’s most prestigious corporations and institutions.” China and Russia will strengthen a strategic partnership by expanding their cooperation in projects including oil trade and nuclear power. More than half of the coal mines in the Kuzbass region have been temporarily closed for safety violations. Lukoil has acquired Turkish firm Akpet, which accounts for about 5% of Turkey’s oil retail market. Most of the big energy resource finds in the Arctic appear to be in areas already under territorial claim.