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BP Announces Multi-Billion Dollar Oil Deal with Russia - 2003-02-11

British Petroleum, one of the world's largest oil companies, Tuesday announced a major investment in Russia. British Petroleum officials say they plan to invest $6.75 billion, through two Russian partners, in the Russian oil market.

Under the deal, British Petroleum will own 50 percent of a new venture along with two Russian energy companies Sidanco and TNK.

The new venture is expected to become one of the largest oil companies in Russia, producing slightly more than one million barrels of oil a day.

The move is a major investment for British Petroleum, as well as something of a surprise. A few years ago the company threatened to pull out of the Russian market altogether after an investment dispute. The company complained it was being treated unfairly by the Russian government.

At the time, the argument was viewed by many international companies as an indication that investment in Russia was a risky prospect. It highlighted the problems many foreign companies had doing business in Russia, namely that they did not feel their investments would be legally protected.

Analysts say the deal announced Tuesday may indicate that international investors are no longer as concerned as they once were about the stability of their investments in Russia.

Russia is the second largest oil exporting country in the world and in recent years has been trying to increase its oil exports. But analysts say it has been hampered by a lack of international investment to help it develop its oil fields.