BP Plc, recovering from its Gulf of Mexico oil spill, said it is in talks with Russian state-controlled oil company Rosneft about a possible deal, news that sent the British oil company's shares up 3 percent.
Sky news television reported Rosneft will take a pretty significant stake in BP, while a source familiar with the matter told Reuters the planned deal would involve the two companies jointly exploring for oil and gas in Russia and other places..
Dudley has scheduled a news conference for 2100 GMT on Friday, at the company's headquarters. BP chief executive Bob Dudley was in Moscow earlier on Friday for a "routine" meeting with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
The focus on Russia is coming full circle for the newly tapped Dudley, who was forced to flee Russia in 2008 after heading BP's Russian joint venture, TNK-BP, which is half-owned by BP.
Dudley had been the boss for TNK-BP's formation in 2003 and was forced to leave due to what he described as a campaign of harassment by BP-TNK's billionaire oligarch co-owners.
Russia is a key part of BP's global operation, providing the company with a quarter of its reserves before the U.S. oil spill, so it is vital for Dudley to establish a good working relationship with the world's largest oil exporting nation.
"BP confirms that it is in discussions with Rosneft relating to a possible arrangement," a spokesman said in an emailed statement.
Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the share swap report. Others confirmed the talks but would not comment on their nature.
U.S.-listed shares of BP climbed 3 percent, or $1.45, to $49.02 ahead of the news conference.