The plans could however be thrown off course by BP’s oligarch partners in   joint venture TNK-BP, who have already thwarted the British oil major’s   plans for wider co-operation with Gazprom.

Gazprom said BP had “shown an interest” in extending the Russian company’s   Nord Stream pipeline to the UK . Nord Stream began flowing gas from Russia   to Germany last year, and Russia wants to extend it further.

TNK-BP’s shareholder agreement specifies it must be the primary vehicle for   oil and gas activity in Russia and the Ukraine, a clause that scuppered BP’s   plans to tie-up with Rosneft last year.

BP is seeking to sell its stake in TNK-BP due to unworkable relations with   oligarch partners, AAR.

BP is understood to have sought a waiver from AAR to pursue talks with Gazprom   over Nord Stream, but AAR refused. BP has now written to AAR to say it does   “not intend to take any further actions with respect to the potential   opportunities (to the extent that they involve Russia)”.

AAR chief executive Stan Polovets told the Wall Street Journal it was “very   disappointed” that “rather than bringing the opportunity to TNK-BP , BP has   decided not to pursue it at all.”

But sources close to BP suggested its reply to AAR still allowed it to look at   parts of the pipeline project outside of Russia.

A BP spokesman said: “We look at opportunities all over the world and consider   them on their merits.”