Report: BP nears deal key to Arctic exploration

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil giant BP could announce as early as Monday that it plans to buy out the Russian partners in its joint venture TNK-BP Ltd., according to a story posted Sunday night by the Wall Street Journal.

The deal would transfer a 50 percent stake from a company called AAR, which is controlled by a group of Russian billionaires, to Russian state oil company OAO Rosneft, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter. More importantly, it would clear the way for BP’s plans to explore for oil in the Arctic Sea north of Russia, a plan that the current Russian partners oppose.

BP first announced the transfer-of-power plan in January, but ran into opposition from AAR.

BP spokesman Scott Dean declined to comment.

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