OIL giant BP is this week expected to stress the importance of its US business despite signing a deal with Russia's state-owned Rosneft which has been criticised by some American policy makers.
BP's American-born chief executive Bob Dudley will say the group is committed to the US following the storm of controversy after the Gulf disaster that claimed 11 lives and led to the ousting of his predecessor Tony Hayward.
One industry source said: "Expect Bob to emphasise the continuing importance of North America.
"The last thing he will want to suggest is that BP's future is with Rosneft in Russia."
At a presentation of fourth- quarter figures, Dudley is also expected to reaffirm the group's commitment to its "downstream" business, including refining, following years of tough trading in the division.
One analyst said: "Some in the industry question the sector's integrated oil model of upstream exploration and development, and downstream.
"Arguably downstream has only had three good years, from 2004 to 2006, in the past 20 years.
"But it is still more likely Dudley would not like to preside over such an obvious retreat in BP's strategic footprint."
The group's figures will be unveiled on Tuesday, the same day billionaire investors in BP's existing Russian joint venture, TNK-BP, begin a legal action in the High Court in London to try and derail the $16 billion (10.03bn) share swap with Rosneft.
Those investors claim TNK-BP's shareholder agreement commits the British company to only pursue projects in Russia and the Ukraine exclusively through that joint venture.
A BP spokesman said: "We believe we are in full compliance with the shareholder agreement regarding TNK-BP."
The City consensus for BP's fourth-quarter profit is $5.1bn (3.2bn), up 16 per cent on the corresponding quarter of 2009.
The oil major is also set to reinstate its dividend after it cancelled the payout last summer following the Gulf oil spill in the spring.
The market consensus for the BP dividend for the fourth quarter is 7 cents a share.