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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

BP, Rosneft Chief Executives Held Meeting

The chief executive of oil major BP, Tony Hayward, met executives of Rosneft this week, including its chairman, Igor Sechin, a BP official said Friday.

"It was a regular meeting with Rosneft as we have a number of joint projects. BP's executives have in the past often met with Rosneft, including its chairman," the official said.

Sechin, who is also a deputy head of the presidential administration, is seen as one of the country's most influential men. He is one of the key advocates of a tight state grip over the energy and other strategic sectors.

Under his chairmanship, Rosneft has turned into the country's largest oil producer and refiner following the bankruptcy of Yukos, whose assets were bought largely by Rosneft.

Rosneft's main competitor for assets in Russia in the past years has been Gazprom, whose chairman, Dmitry Medvedev, is due to be sworn in as the country's next president in May.

Hayward's visit this week came amid rising state pressure on BP's landmark oil venture with a group of Russian billionaires, TNK-BP, the country's No. 3 oil producer.

TNK-BP's offices were raided in March and one of its employees was arrested on charges of industrial espionage, reviving long-running rumors that the Kremlin wants to force the Russian shareholders to sell out to Gazprom.