Russia's Putin meets with top Rosneft, BP executives

SOCHI, Russia Tue Sep 18, 2012 3:57pm EDT

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SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin met on Tuesday with Rosneft Chief Executive Igor Sechin and BP CEO Bob Dudley and Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg to discuss a potential expansion of the British oil major's presence in Russia.

"Right now there is a meeting of the president with Sechin and his colleagues from BP - Svanberg and Dudley," said Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov, speaking to journalists in Sochi, where Putin was holding the meeting.

"At the meeting, the issue being discussed is connected with the continuation of the broadening of the presence of the company BP on the Russian market."

In June BP announced it would start the process of selling its 50 percent stake in Russia's third largest oil company TNK-BP, and a month later Rosneft said it was in talks to acquire half of the troubled venture.

In return for its share in TNK-BP, the British oil major may gain access to other assets in Russia.

Earlier this month Sechin said state-owned Rosneft had taken a time-out in talks to buy the TNK-BP stake to avoid falling foul of the shareholder pact.

Under the TNK-BP shareholders agreement, outside buyers may hold talks on buying a stake, but cannot close a deal for 90 days.

(Reporting By Darya Korsunskaya, Writing by Thomas Grove; Editing by Alden Bentley)

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