BP is considering selling its 50 % stake in the Russian joint venture TNK-BP, after receiving a set of "unsolicited approaches", according to a company statement released today.

Shares in Europe's second-biggest oil company gained more than 4 % in early London trading, rising to 410.25 per share and topping the benchmark FTSE 100 following the announcement.

BP has notified its partner, Alfa Access Renova (AAR), which consists of a group of four Soviet-born billionaires, of its intention to pursue a potential sale, which could mark the end of one of the most adventurous energy business ventures in history.

BP has battled to recover from the Deep water Horizon disaster in 2010, which has forced the group to set aside $20bn to cover costs and claims. TNK-BP, which generated $3.7bn of BP's $22bn in revenues last year, is viewed as the group's main growth outlet but it now looks likely that BP will have to look elsewhere to revive growth in the business.

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