BP has astonished many analysts and critics by saying it is going to buy a $1bn stake in the state-owned Russian oil producer, Rosneft. It will seen as a major boost to President Putin just days before the G8 Summit. However opponents of the flotation told the Independent newspaper that BP had “a gun to its head” because of its existing oil interests in Russia, which would have been compromised had it decided not to back the Rosneft offer.

The flotation is expected to raise $10bn-$11bn, valuing Rosneft at between $60bn and $80bn. Other investors include the state-owned Malaysian oil company Petronas and the China National Petroleum Company.