No love for BP from Russia’s oil man-turned-president: On the eve of his first state visit to the U.S. next week, Mr. Medvedev also questioned whether the Gulf oil spill might lead to the "annihilation" or breakup of BP, as the company faces billions of dollars in losses from the disaster. He stopped short ...
No love for BP from Russia's oil man-turned-president:
No love for BP from Russia’s oil man-turned-president:
On the eve of his first state visit to the U.S. next week, Mr. Medvedev also questioned whether the Gulf oil spill might lead to the "annihilation" or breakup of BP, as the company faces billions of dollars in losses from the disaster.
He stopped short of saying Russia would re-evaluate BP’s lucrative partnership in Russia, which represents almost a quarter of its oil production, but predicted the spill will prompt a fundamental rethinking of oil exploration around the world.
"This is a wake-up call," Mr. Medvedev said. Of BP’s fate, he added: "Certainly, we are not indifferent to their future. … Hopefully, they can absorb the losses."
As we’ve discussed recently on this blog, the Kremlin is not exactly a disinterested party in BP’s fate. The Russian government taken a number of steps over the years — including barring the TNK-BP subsidiary from Russia’s lucrative energy export market and setting unreasonably high production quotas — to make life difficult for the company, often to the benefit of Medvedev’s old company, Gazprom.
Interesting, the Economist invoked Russia and Medvedev’s predecessor this week in criticizing President Obama’s response to the spill:
The collapse in BP’s share price suggests that [Obama] has convinced the markets that he is an American version of Vladimir Putin, willing to harry firms into doing his bidding.
That’s going just a bit far. Obama hasn’t sent anyone off to Siberia or even suspended anyone’s visa. But Tony Hayward’s still probably hoping Obama doesn’t get any ideas from the Russian president when they meet next week.
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating
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