Linklaters, Lovells in face-off as BP claims against its Russian JV partner

Linklaters and Lovells are going head-to-head as BP starts its Swedish ­arbitration proceedings against Russian consortium Alfa-Access-Renova (AAR), which is in a lucrative joint venture with the energy giant.

BP’s legal team alleges that the TNK-BP joint ­venture’s legal framework has been violated by AAR – a consortium made up of Russian billionaires Mikhail Fridman, Viktor Vekselberg, Leonard Blavatnik and German Khan – which owns the other half of the enterprise.

A battle for control of the venture broke out last month when AAR said it would take forward the arbitration hearings in Stockholm while launching a separate court action in Moscow to strip BP-nominated directors of their powers.

BP is looking to keep ­control of a business that provides a quarter of its global oil output and billions of pounds worth of annual profit.

The legal actions were launched by both sides after AAR failed to win an agreement from BP that it could take much greater control over the running of TNK-BP.

BP instructed Linklaters, with the magic circle firm’s London disputes chief Michael Bennett heading the team.

AAR has instructed seven law firms, with Lovells ­taking a coordinating role. The team is being led by Moscow litigation partner Dominic Pellew and London litigation partners Christopher Grierson and Hugh Lyons.