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商业 - 能源

英国石油铤而走险,赴俄淘金终尝苦果

Katie Benner和Alex Konrad 2011年11月10日

英国石油公司在其同意成为秋明石油公司的合作伙伴之前,究竟对这家俄罗斯石油公司了解多少?

    英国石油公司2003年开始跟秋明石油公司进行合作以来,它与这家俄罗斯公司的关系就一直在恶化。最初还只是“(秋明英国石油公司)内部低层职员进行的游击战,”Norex 公司在其起诉书这样写道。此语出自英国石油公司前CEO布朗勋爵亲自撰写的自传。但到了2008年,这种合作关系已经破裂。当时担任秋明英国石油公司CEO的鲍勃•杜德利被迫离开俄罗斯(此君现在是英国石油公司CEO)。英国石油公司时任CEO托尼•海沃德在接受《每日电讯报》(Telegraph)采访时称,杜德利感到他不得不“考虑自己的人身安全。”那一年,俄罗斯警方搜查了英国石油公司律师的办事处。维基解密(Wikileaks)掌握的一份美国国务院(U.S. State Department)2008年的电报显示,美国官员相信,如果秋明石油公司得不到合资企业更多的控制权,这种骚扰将持续下去。

    今年,秋明石油公司阻止了英国石油公司拟与俄罗斯国有石油公司Rosneft进行的一笔交易【埃克森美孚公司(Exxon)最终赢得了这笔交易】。一个与秋明石油公司有关联的秋明英国石油公司少数股东团体起诉英国石油公司在Rosneft的交易中行为失当。惠誉国际评级公司(Fitch Ratings)表示,如果这起诉讼案在俄罗斯法庭获得进展,很有可能会引发该公司对英国石油公司进行新一轮级别评估。而俄罗斯特工则再一次突击搜查了英国石油公司驻莫斯科办事处,这一次行动促使英国首相大卫•卡梅伦向俄总统德米特里•梅德韦杰夫表达了他对俄罗斯司法体系的担忧之情。

    爱德华琼斯公司(Edward Jones)分析师布赖恩•扬恩博格指出,大多数能源公司经营业务的地方都会发生一些不愉快的事件。麦格理证券(Macquarie)分析师詹森•甘缪尔指出,从历史上看,唯有埃克森美孚公司在俄罗斯做生意时,没有向俄罗斯的强势合作伙伴低过头。但这笔跟秋明石油公司的交易至少“指出了一个事实:英国石油公司并没有真正懂得如何管理在俄罗斯做生意的风险,”GMI公司研究主管格莱德曼说道。

    看来,在本土经营业务的秋明石油公司可以依靠其在俄罗斯的权势,获得秋明英国石油公司公司更多的掌控权。这就将英国石油公司置于一个极其危险的境地。正如英国石油公司在1999年的一份报告中所指出的那样,“英国石油公司正在俄罗斯的场地,按照俄罗斯的规则,在由秋明石油公司提供资金支持的腐败官员的主持下,进行比赛。”这个令英国石油公司苦不堪言的合资项目在英国石油公司的能源总储量中占据了20%,占该公司总利润的10%。英国石油公司不愿失去秋明英国石油公司对其利润的贡献。但现在看来,要想保住这条财路,英国石油公司还得看秋明石油公司的脸色。

    译者:任文科

    Since partnering with TNK in 2003, BP's relationship with TNK has deteriorated. At first, there was a "low-level guerilla war carried on inside [TNK-BP]," Norex says in its complaint, citing former BP CEO Lord Browne's own autobiography. But by 2008, the relationship had unraveled. Bob Dudley was forced out of Russia, where he was serving as CEO of TNK-BP. (Dudley is now the CEO of BP). Tony Hayward, BP's then-CEO, told the Telegraph that Dudley felt he had to "think about his safety." That year, Russian police raided BP's lawyers' offices. U.S. officials believed that the harassment would continue unless TNK got more control over the partnership, according to a 2008 U.S. State Department cable leaked to Wikileaks.

    This year, a deal between BP and Russia's state-owned oil company Rosneft was blocked by TNK (Exxon (XOM) ultimately won the deal). A group of TNK-BP minority shareholders, with ties to TNK, sued BP for mishandling the Rosneft deal. Fitch Ratings says that if the lawsuit gains traction in the Russian courts, it could trigger a review of BP's credit rating. Again, Russian agents raided BP's Moscow offices, this time prompting David Cameron to raise concerns about the Russian legal system with the country's President Dmitry Medvedev.

    Most energy companies operate in places where unsavory things happen, points out Brian Youngberg, an analyst with Edward Jones. And Jason Gammel, an analyst at Macquarie, notes that only Exxon has historically been able to do business in Russia without making concessions to a strong Russian partner. But if nothing else, the deal with TNK, "points to the fact that BP did not really understand how to manage risks [of doing business in Russia]," says GMI's Gladman.

    It seems that TNK, being on its home turf, has the power within Russia to gain ever more control over TNK-BP. That puts BP in a precarious situation. As BP itself noted in a 1999 report, "BP Amoco is playing the game on a Russian pitch, by Russian rules, officiated by corrupt politicians in TNK's pockets." The partnership, though troubled, accounts for 20% of BP's reserves and 10% of the company's profits; and BP would be loathe to lose TNK-BP's contribution to the bottom line. But it seems that BP must remain at TNK's mercy to keep the money coming in.

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