When BHP’s boss met Putin

In the case of BP, some shareholders are concerned a new cold war could lead to Putin expropriating assets from western firms.  The Telegraph in London reported unnamed Russian diplomatic sources saying Moscow could seize the assets of British companies including BP and Shell, as a retaliation against Prime Minister David Cameron’s demand for tough sanctions.

Shell chief executive Ben van ­Beurden met with Putin in Moscow weeks after the US and EU imposed initial low-level sanctions on Russia over the annexation of the Crimea.

It is understood other resources chiefs, including former Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese and the man who preceded Mackenzie in the top job at BHP, Marius Kloppers, have also met with Putin in recent years.

Chatting with Putin, who was a KGB officer in Berlin, in German at a business dinner in Moscow: BP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie. “He [Mackenzie] thought BHP could one day have some serious interests in eastern Siberia,” one source said.

In Australia, Wesfarmers chief executive and chairman of the B20 business summit Richard Goyder has backed calls for Putin to be excluded from the Brisbane G20 leaders’ meeting in November, saying “countries that don’t play by the rules shouldn’t be part of economic entities that are trying to get economic growth”.

That Mackenzie travelled to Moscow to attend a business gathering with the Kremlin boss highlights the importance of Russia to the world’s biggest resources companies.

Large Russian companies exert considerable influence in many segments of the resources sector - including oil, gas, nickel, aluminium and potash, which produces mineral salts that are used in fertilisers - making them price-setters and also potential partners for the likes of BHP and Rio Tinto.

Read more here: SMH


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