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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Trader Pushes BP Unit to Declare Bankruptcy

A Siberian gas unit controlled by BP is being pushed by a Moscow oil trader to declare bankruptcy after it failed to repay a 62.8 million-ruble ($2.2 million) debt.

A suit filed by Westcom, a unit of Alfa Service, asked a Siberian court to start bankruptcy proceedings against gas producer Rospan International. TNK-BP, in which BP holds 50 percent, took over Rospan last month by buying out Yukos, which co-owned the asset.

"Westcom had to file for the bankruptcy of Rospan and the dismissal of its general director," after the gas producer failed to pay the debt following a court decision March 22, St. Petersburg-based Westcom said in letter to TNK-BP CEO Robert Dudley that was faxed to Bloomberg.

Alfa Service last month offered to buy Rospan from Yukos and TNK-BP. Last year, BP agreed to pay Alfa Group and Access Industries-Renova $7.7 billion to pool oil assets including Tyumen Oil Co. with BP's assets, creating TNK-BP, Russia's third-largest oil producer. Alfa Services is not affiliated with Alfa Group.

After the rejection, Alfa Service urged billionaire Mikhail Fridman, chairman of Alfa Group, to settle disputes out of court by returning his company's stake in TNK to the government.

TNK-BP declined to comment on the debt at the center of the suit.

"Rospan underwent bankruptcy procedures that ended in 2002," Vladimir Bobylev, a spokesman at TNK-BP, said in telephone interview. "Most of the debts were paid."

Rospan owed about 3.1 billion rubles in debt as of May 2002.

Westcom is claiming an additional 240 million rubles in debt from Rospan through the courts, the Alfa Service unit said in the faxed letter.