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BP Not Worried By Possible Yukos-related Charges on Rosneft Shares

Rosneft and Russian Flags, Rosneft Banner Stretched On WallMOSCOW. Jan 19 (Interfax) - BP is not worried by possible charges related to the Yukos bankruptcy on the shares it plans to acquire in Rosneft (RTS: ROSN).

"The shares we are receiving from Rosneft and the projects in which we plan to participate have been sanctioned by the Russian government, they have its support," BP's president in Russia, Jeremy Huck, said on the Ekho Moskvy radio station.

"We don't have any worries," Huck said.

Peter O"Brien, a Rosneft vice president, also said he saw no cause for concern in this issue. "You never know who might file some sort of lawsuit or when. There haven't been any new suits for this reason for a long time. There've been a lot of decisions of one kind or another. I don't see any cause for concern," O'Brien said.

Yukos was wound up in 2007. Rosneft bought 80% of its assets during the sell-off, but some former Yukos shareholders are challenging the legality of the bankruptcy.

Regarding plans to work with BP on the Arctic shelf, Rosneft's O'Brien said this would be effective with a special tax regime. "You couldn't do it with the same sort of taxation they have onshore, in West Siberia, where all the infrastructure is in place and lifting costs are $3 a barrel. That wouldn't work (for the shelf). There has to be a new profit-based tax regime," he said.

BP's Huck said a joint venture between the companies would operate in the Arctic and that the companies, as its shareholders, intended to control it via the board of directors. He said the exploration phase could take five or seven years if work starts in 2011-2012. The last exploration well should be drilled by 2020, after which follow-up exploration would be possible, Huck said.

The project's resources are 5 billion tonnes oil and 10 trillion cubic meters gas. Seismic surveying and drilling will cost upwards of $1 billion by conservative estimates.

Huck also said BP planned to increase its involvement in the TNK-BP (RTS: TNBP) joint venture as per its international development strategy.

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