Russia's third largest oil producer TNK-BP has filed a non-binding application to buy a 53.19% government stake in Poland's Grupa (46,79 PLN, 0,19%) SA, Interfax-Ukraine news agency reports quoting sources close to the bidding process. In early March, Maxim Barsky, deputy CEO of the Russian-British joint venture, said TNK-BP was considering taking part in the refinery's privatisation.
TNK-BP could be a good solution for privatization case if Poland would like to receive access to upstream assets in Russia and secure the crude supplies to the refinery but in the meantime would like to avoid excessive state involvement from the Russian side. TNK-BP is relatively independent and Western-oriented company in Russia which however could run a risk of worsening relationship with the government and a risk of being less successful in getting access to new upstream licenses. It is hard to evaluate what could be the chance that Poland accepts the Russian company as the owner of its strategically important and the only coastal refinery. Despite recently warmed relationships between two countries we remain skeptical about this.