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№ 5 (May 2008)
Gazprom would consider joining the Russian-British oil group TNK-BP once a shareholder conflict within TNK-BP is resolved, a Gazprom official said
"Our shareholders said a year ago that if shares (in TNK-BP) were put up for sale, Gazprom would consider a possible purchase," Alexander Medvedev, Gazprom executive committee vice chairman, told reporters during a European business conference.
"For the moment there is a conflict among the shareholders in the company (TNK-BP)," he said, adding that "after the conflict is settled" Gazprom would reconsider its position.
TNK-BP is jointly controlled by British oil major BP on one hand and three Russian financiers, Viktor Vekselberg, Mikhail Fridman and Len Blavatnik, on the other.
The trio is currently pressing for the removal of TNK-BP chief executive Robert Dudley, whom they accuse of being partial to BP.
The dispute has fueled speculation that Gazprom might eventually acquire 50 percent of TNK-BP, which would give the Russian state access to vast oil resources. TNK-BP is Russia's third largest crude producer.
But on Sunday a Russian government source said participation by Gazprom in TNK-BP was not "desirable" and predicted that the internal conflict would soon be settled.