Oil major BP will use its presence in Russia to help enhance relations between Moscow and the West, chief executive Bob Dudley said yesterday as he restated the group’s commitment to the country.
Russia and the West are in a stand-off over Ukraine. In the last few days, tensions have risen in the mainly Russian-speaking eastern part of the country.
Of the oil majors, BP is the most exposed to Russia through its stake of just under 20 per cent in the Kremlin’s state oil champion, Rosneft.
“We will seek to pursue our business activities mindful that the mutual dependency between Russia as an energy supplier and Europe as an energy consumer has been an important source of security and engagement for both parties for many decades,” Dudley said at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting. “That has got to continue and I think we play an important role as a bridge.”
Russia is responsible for more than a quarter of BP’s oil output worldwide and more than a third of its oil and gas reserves.
Dudley, a US citizen, said last month the company “absolutely” stands by its investments in Russia.
He was forced to flee the country saying he feared for his security during a 2008 dispute between BP and a group of Russian oligarchs over corporate governance at TNK-BP, where he was then chief executive. TNK-BP was ultimately sold to Rosneft last year, giving BP a stake in Rosneft.
Meanwhile, Standard Life Investments (SLI) – a long-term investor in BP – continued to raise concerns over remuneration at the oil producer.
Mike Everett, governance and stewardship director at SLI, said: “Over the last year we have engaged with the company about our concerns and I would like to place on record that there have been some improvements.
“Although we recognise these improvements and the general direction of travel, the journey is not yet complete.”
He said the firm had decided to support the remuneration resolutions at this year’s AGM.