Putin’s Proverb for BP

When he talks about BP having survived a beating, I’m not sure that Vladimir Putin was talking about the oil spill in the Gulf.  No big surprise, but it is emerging that the whole deal was all Igor Sechin’s idea to begin with.  From BusinessWeek:

Vladimir Putin used a Russian proverb to explain why he’s granting BP Plc access to 125,000 square kilometers (48,000 square miles) of Arctic water: the man who’s been beaten is worth two who haven’t.

The Russian prime minister is betting that BP has learned from the trauma of last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill and won’t repeat the same mistake. The Jan. 14 meeting with Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley in a ceremonial room at Putin’s country retreat sealed an agreement to swap BP shares for a holding in OAO Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil producer. (…)

Igor Sechin, Rosneft chairman and Russian deputy prime minister, brought up the idea of a share swap in a meeting with Hayward in Moscow in the middle of last year, when BP had lost about half its value, according to a person at the talks who didn’t want to be identified because they were private.

Also, the articles notes that Sechin was present at the 9:20PM Friday meeting in London to sign the deal over canapes and champagne.  However as he might be one of the people facing visa sanctions preventing travel to Europe over the Khodorkovsky persecution, it might be his last trip for a while.