You have to feel for Vlad Putin. You can imagine this issue has upset him so much that he is getting sleepless nights. Poor old Vlad, he was really upset over the way BP was treated in the US. Well, he can sleep better, because he has done his level best, in that philanthropic way of his, to ensure he has righted at least one wrong.

Mind you, it is debateable whether Mikhail Khodorkovsky is getting such good sleep. He is the fellow who was once the richest man in Russia, headed Yukos, had ideas about a career in politics, but ended up serving time at the pleasure of the Russian government.

Of course, he was completely in the wrong, and when he says BP must beware, they have just given five per cent of their company away to a business that has illegally obtained most of its assets from Yukos, he is just expressing sour grapes.

One might wonder how much sleep BP’s boss Bob Dudley got a few years ago, when he found his passport was no longer appropriate for his stay in Russia.

It was all a misunderstanding, and BP and its partner in Russia, Rosneft, are the best of friends.

Still, at least Tony Hayward is no doubt sleeping like a baby now he has got his life back. You will recall he was the top man at BP, or was that British Petroleum, when he ran into a few difficulties in the Gulf of Mexico.

Of course, BP was owned by those same oppressors who once ruled the US, and were kicked out during the American Revolution.

But actually, it appears it is not like that at all.

Ed Markey, top Democrat, used to love BP, or British Petroleum as he likes to call it. The firm brings back memories of the United States’ loyal ally. But now he says: “BP once stood for British Petroleum. With this deal, it now stands for Bolshoi Petroleum.”

But actually, Mr Markey made a more astute remark. He said: “Even following the largest oil spill in US history, and potentially billions of dollars in fines still outstanding, the Russian Bear is apparently bullish about BP. This acquisition will almost certainly complicate the politics of levying and collecting damages from BP following their Gulf of Mexico oil spill.”

So why do you think Russia is bullish about BP? How about this for a theory: because it reckons BP’s expertise in drilling for oil in out-of-the-way places, such as deep beneath the seabed in the Gulf of Mexico, or beneath the ocean in the Arctic, leads the world.

The know-how the company employed in fixing the Deep Horizon leak was truly breathtaking – and the company’s solution was a good deal more sensible than some of the ideas, including using a nuclear bomb to fix the leak, suggested by its critics.

BP has rushed into the arms of the bear, because its Uncle Sam’s arms were so unwelcoming.

Of course doubts still remain. Sure, BP may well do very nicely out of the Russian deal – although it is high risk – but the other BP, British Pensioners, may have something to cheer about.


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