Another Fine Mess in the Oil Business

Illustration for TIME by Daniel Horowitz

The oil business has never been for the faint of heart. But think back, if you will, some five years to a time when the industry was nothing like it is today. In mid-2003, when a barrel of oil fetched about $30, BP made what was then the largest ever foreign investment in a Russian firm. The British company paid more than $6 billion for a 50% stake in TNK-BP, an oil outfit it set up with a consortium of four Russian billionaires. Vladimir Putin, Russia's President at the time, joined Tony Blair, then Britain's Prime Minister, in cheering the joint...

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