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BP's alliance with Rosneft a master stroke

Despite a year of difficulties, BP's latest Russian venture shows the UK supermajor is still playing at the top table

IT'S KNOWN as a krisha and few, if any, successful businesses in Russia are without one. Now BP, which is staking some of its future on a partnership with Rosneft to explore Russia's Arctic frontier, has its own "roof", or political protection. It goes by another name, too: Igor Sechin. On 14 January, BP shocked investors by announcing a new alliance with Russia's state-controlled oil company. It involves an asset swap, which will see Rosneft acquire 5% of BP's stock in exchange for BP gaining 9.5% of the Russian firm. Rosneft's new BP stake is valued at about $7.8bn, and will come from new shares to be issued in the coming months. Thanks to BP's misadventures in the US Gulf of Mexico, its

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