Saturday, June 19, 2010

Russian Leaders Comment on BP's Fate

Reuters reports that BP's embattled CEO Tony Hayward's conspicuous absence from the annual business forum in Russia this week prompted speculations from Russia's political and industry leaders.

Frankly I do not know whether to read between the lines or take them at face value. But I do know that you don't necessarily want to be wished well by a Russian leader in your absence. The CEO of a large Russian steel company (Mechel Steel; stock symbol MTL) couldn't make it to the meeting with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin supposedly due to a sudden illness. Mr. Putin wished him a speedy recovery, and the company's shares plunged 38% in one day.

BP CEO the ghost at the feast as Russia fetes big oil
(Vladimir Soldatkin, 6/19/2010 Reuters)

"(Reuters) - The leaders of the global oil industry gathered as usual at Russia's top annual business forum this week but there was one ghost at the party.

"BP (BP.L) chief executive Tony Hayward, normally a regular, was conspicuous by his absence this year and his company's woes were a constant topic of discussion among those who did come." [The article continues.]

Here's what Reuters reports they said:

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev: the Kremlin was "not indifferent to their future" and adding: "Hopefully, they can absorb the losses."

[French oil major] Total CEO Christophe de Margerie: "I think we are all at stake and I do wish BP will survive"

Rosneft CEO Sergei Bogdanchikov: "We believe that a powerful company like BP can easily form the fund and asset sales will be minimal, if any"

Gazprom Neft's CEO Alexander Dyukov: "Big losses, but it will survive. In theory, a friendly takeover is possible"

LUKOIL President Vagit Alekperov: "We are not wolves", "We don't eat the weak."

Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin: the spill could affect key projects such as the giant Shtokman gas field in the Barents Sea. "Every time I think of the accident I break out in a cold sweat"; "The consequences are so grave and I understand the actions of the U.S. administration, which is focusing its attention on cleanup, but I also sympathize with BP."


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