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Oil & Gas

BP''s Russian office raided by top security agency

May 21, 2008
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The Associated Press is reporting that BP, Europe''s second-largest oil company, said Russian security agents raided its Moscow offices in search of unspecified documents recently.

The Federal Security Service, Russia''s top security agency, led the search and BP PLC is cooperating with the probe, company spokesman Vladimir Buyanov said.

FSB officials refused to comment.

The raid was just the latest run-in involving Russian agents and British Petroleum, and its Russian joint venture, TNK-BP.

Some 150 BP PLC employees were furloughed in March because of alleged visa problems, and police also arrested a TNK-BP employee on industrial espionage charges.

Last year, regulators threatened to withdraw TNK-BP''s license to operate the giant Kovykta gas field in Siberia. The company ultimately agreed to sell its stake to state-controlled gas monopoly OAO Gazprom.

The Kremlin has stepped up pressure on foreign energy companies in recent years as part of its effort to consolidate control over the country''s largest and most important hydrocarbon deposits.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC was forced to cede part of its stake in a massive project on the Pacific island of Sakhalin to Gazprom.
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