The 3 way negotiation between BP, its JV partner AAR and Rosneft over Arctic exploration rights seems to have taken an unexpected turn. Negotiations are apparently over after BP failed to meet a “deadline” imposed by Rosneft. It would seem that both Rosneft and AAR have been using high pressure tactics here. AAR initially resorted to Court action to stop the deal as a backdrop to their negotiating stance. Now Rosneft’s deadline pressure is a classic “tough guy” tactic.

Pressure tactics are usually the preserve of “users” in negotiation – those who seek to gain an advantage solely for themselves and not for the other side. The best tactic to deal with these people is to stand up to them and make their behaviour the issue – otherwise they will keep doing it.

So, BP may have made the right call in refusing to respond to deadline pressure from Rosneft. This now puts the pressure back on Rosneft. If they stick to their deadline they will have to find a new partner to negotiate with. If they don’t stick to their deadline and resume the negotiation with BP, then they will have shown that their ultimatum was just a tactic and their negotiation credibility with BP will be much weaker going forward.