You may recall that last month BP
Beyond that, you may also realize that ExxonMobil
But some things never change. It took only a week for BP's group of billionaire partners in its 50-50 Russian joint venture TNK-BP to get their backs up over the prospect of their British partner joining forces with their competitor. Now, because of the partners' heartburn, the BP and Rosneft agreement is on hold, pending an arbitration hearing next month.
It's worth mentioning, then, that The Wall Street Journal included an article Tuesday that was based on an interview with Igo Sechin, who just happens to wear two hats (Russia can be frigid, you know): one as chairman of Rosneft and another as deputy prime minister -- energy czar to us. Those who read the piece will likely emerge with the notion that the BP and Rosneft venture will eventually get done, perhaps with some structural changes.
But BP, which in some quarters in the U.S. remains something of a pariah, following its massive and deadly Gulf of Mexico tragedy aboard Transocean's
Should the deal go through, despite India's unpredictable regulatory backdrop, BP will pay Reliance $7.2 billion for a share of 23 blocks, primarily off India's east coast. Another $1.8 billion of BP's money will be held aside, to be forked over in the event the companies are sufficiently successful. Most of the drilling is planned for water depths of 1,320 to 9,900 feet.
Also part of the agreement will be the formation of a joint venture to market natural gas. And according to BP, if the deal is wildly successful, its total payments could hit $20 billion. BP is already involved in India, where it's part of Tata BP Solar, a maker of solar panels. Its partner is the diverse Tata Group, which many Americans know through its automobile manufacturer, Tata Motors
Should BP encounter smooth sailing in India, rather than the difficulties that have plagued it in Russia, its deal with Reliance could provide it with more leverage for hastening a recovery from its turbulent 2010.
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We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Fool contributor David Lee Smith thought Tata meant goodnight. He doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned above. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.