Skadden wins injunction for TNK-BP shareholders

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom has helped seal victory at the High Court for client Alfa-Access-Renova (AAR) in its ­multibillion-dollar dispute with UK oil giant BP.

The dispute kicked off earlier this year when BP announced a £10bn share swap with Russia’s state-owned oil company Rosneft in January, part of a ­lucrative deal that would also have involved a long-term agreement to explore oil reserves in the Arctic.

AAR is a consortium of shareholders with a 50 per cent stake in TNK-BP, BP’s existing joint venture in Russia. AAR argued that the Rosneft deal would breach the terms of its shareholder agreement with TNK-BP and secured an injunction against the deal on 1 ­February.

At an expedited hearing at the High Court on 25 March, the tribunal upheld AAR’s position.

AAR was advised by Skadden partners David Kavanagh and Scott ­Simpson and associate ­barrister Adam Baradon, with Skadden instructing Brick Court Chambers’ Mark Howard QC.

BP turned to Linklaters London litigation chief Michael Bennett, who instructed another Brick Court silk, Mark Hapgood QC. Although it was not named in the litigation, ­Rosneft instructed Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer London partner Sebastian Lawson and Moscow associate Sergei Diyachenko.

Under the terms of the TNK-BP joint venture, BP must first offer any potential opportunities in Russia to TNK-BP. The UK company could now pursue the option of a share swap with ­Rosneft, but drop the Arctic oil exploration agreement.