TNK-BP Foreigners May Have to Leave

International staff of oil major TNK-BP may have to leave Russia because of the company's failure to settle working permit issues with authorities, chief executive Robert Dudley said Monday.

"We have been working with the Russian authorities and within Russian laws since April to resolve this issue and will continue to do so," Dudley said through his press service. "However, we have been given no grounds to believe these issues will be resolved before senior international staff and their families will have to leave Russia. Unfortunately, this now appears very likely," he said.

Dudley had earlier applied to the government of Moscow to extend work permits for a total of 146 international specialists at TNK-BP, but the city's office on Monday cleared the request only for 71 specialists.

TNK-BP is half-owned by BP and half by a group of Russian and Russian-born billionaires, who have publicly criticized BP and Dudley for excessive use of foreign specialists.