TNK-BP Sides To Meet, May Discuss CEO

LONDON -- BP may clash again with Russian billionaires in an effort to keep TNK-BP chief executive Robert Dudley in the post, even as one investor said Thursday that compromise was possible.

Representatives of BP on TNK-BP Ltd.'s board are "expected to attend" a meeting Friday in Cyprus, BP spokesman David Nicholas said.

"We have no comments" on the meeting's agenda, timing or location, Nicholas said Thursday. "As far as we are concerned, the board meeting is a private matter."

BP also said Thursday that more than 30 foreign staff at TNK-BP would have to leave Russia by the end of the month to renew their visas, warning that even a temporary absence could harm the firm's operations. TNK-BP accounts for one-quarter of BP's total output and one-fifth of proved reserves.

BP, which owns 50 percent of TNK-BP Ltd., is fighting for control against billionaires Viktor Vekselberg, Mikhail Fridman, German Khan and Len Blavatnik. Known collectively as AAR, they have sought Dudley's dismissal as TNK-BP chief, saying he has put BP's interests ahead of their own.

AAR chief executive Stan Polovets said the consortium has submitted motions to fire Dudley.

BP could salvage its investment in TNK-BP if it makes compromises with its Russian partners, Vekselberg told The Wall Street Journal. He suggested compromises on new management and power sharing.

Bloomberg, AP