This was Dudley's first visit to Moscow since he fled in 2008 as the five year veteren CEO of joint venture TNK-BP at the peak of a shareholder dispute. Accused of running the venture as a subsidiary of BP, denied an employment contract and work visa he attempted to run the company from secret locations in Europe.
Tony Hayward was the man who smoothed over the dispute and signed the memorandum of understanding with BP's Russian partners in the 50-50 joint venture, that appeared to cede more operational controol to the AAR consortium owned by four Russian tycoons. BP pumps more crude oil in Russia than it does in the United States and relations with Russian authorities are crucial to the embattled company's future as it is under continuing threat in the United States.BP owns 1.2 percent of Rosneft as well as its 50 percent stake in TNK-BP.
While Sechin said,"We are ... counting on your experience, Mr Dudley, and on new projects in our partnership," opening the meeting with the two BP executives, where he said Russia was "satisfied" with the new CEO.
"The field for cooperation is very broad."
Hayward led the way into the meeting and greeted the deputy prime minister with an embrace and a formal kiss on the cheek.
Sechin, a close ally of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, said Putin asked him to "say hello" to both Dudley and Hayward.
Hayward in the past regularly met with Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, the powerful official who overseas Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's energy policy, and Hayward has a good working relationship with him, a BP spokesman said. "He was coming regularly, coming to Moscow every two or three months"
"The fact that you will continue to work on the board of TNK-BP will be a help to Mr Dudley and to us," Sechin told Hayward in the presence of journalists at the beginning of the meeting.
"And who knows? Maybe there could be other offers in the future."
The BP executives also met BP's Russian partners in TNK-BP and with Sergei Bogdanchikov, the CEO of Rosneft.
Industry observers say that the sale of BP's Venezuelan assets were almost certainly discussed with Mikhail Fridman of AAR and the fate of the giant undeveloped Siberian Kovykta gas deposit where TNK-BP holds the concession and was slated for sale to Gazprom in an unfinalised deal was probably raised with Sechin.
Hayward, who already served on the board of BP Russian joint venture TNK-BP from 2003 to 2007, will be nominated again for that board as he's replaced by Dudley at the helm of BP Oct. 1.
BP has about one-third of its global business interests and 40 percent of its shareholders and employees in the United States. But BP says it produces more crude in Russia than the United States — 840,000 barrels a day, compared with 665,000 in the United States, including the gulf.