Eco-trouble ahead for BP-Rosneft partnership

The petroleum fields in the Kara Sea to be developed by BP and Rosneft.

Not only do the shareholders of TNK-BP dispute BP’s recent partnership with Rosneft in the Kara Sea. Also environmentalists protest the oil plans, saying that the license areas are located partly in a protected natural park.

The Arctic oil deal announced by BP and Rosneft on 15 January this year encroach on the borders of the natural park Arktika, WWF says. According to the organization, two of the three blocks included in the deal are located within the borders of the protected park, the Moscow Times reports.

Representative of WWF Russia Alexei Knizhnikov argues that all the geographical coordinates of the natural park are clear and settled. He now maintains that the authorities should change the license areas allocated to the oil companies, Reuters reports.

The Ministry of Natural Resources meanwhile argues that the border of the natural park has yet to be demarcated.

Read also: Rosneft and BP form strategic alliance for Kara Sea

The natural park Arktika was approved in June 2010. State-owned Rosneft was granted the license areas four months later. They include an area of approximately 125,000 square kilometres.

Read also: Russian Arctic national park on Novaya Zemlya

The agreement is based on mutual shareholdings between the two companies. Rosneft will receive 5% of ordinary voting shares of BP in exchange for 9.5% of its shares, according to a press-release from Rosneft.

The BP-Rosneft deal has met resistance not only from the environmentalists in the WWF. Several shareholders in the TNK-BP company dispute the deal arguing that it violates a pre-existing partnership between BP and the Russian shareholders who control TNK-BP. As reported by, the financial terms of the joint venture are now being contested in the UK High Court.