BP Plc refused a demand from its partners to oust the chief executive of its TNK-BP Ltd joint venture in Russia, according to a report.

At a meeting in Cyprus on Thursday with BP's chief executive Tony Hayward, the joint venture partners demanded that TNK-BP chief executive Robert Dudley resign, according to the Wall Street Journal. Hayward rejected the demands.

Billionaires Mikhail Fridman, Viktor Vekselberg and Len Blavatnik own 50 percent of the company, which is Russia's third largest oil producer. BP owns the other half. The venture represents nearly a quarter percent of BP's oil production and almost a fifth of its reserves.

Dudley is a BP veteran whom the partners accuse of favoring the UK company's interests. Hayward declined to take part in a regularly scheduled board meeting, leaving it short of a quorum, the Journal said.

BP and the partners agreed to hold additional discussions next week.

The request to oust Dudley came after BP had formally requested the removal of three top executives linked to the Russian partners. Dudley had accused them of insubordination, the Journal said, citing unidentified people close to the company.

Earlier this year 148 specialists employed by BP and assigned to work at TNK-BP were refused entry into the company's headquarters despite orders from Dudley. BP suspects that the Russian shareholders were behind the defiance. They deny the allegation.

In April, Dudley's request to the company's legal department to request additional work permits for foreigners was ignored, the Journal said.

That month TNK-BP Executive Director German Khan filed a request with authorities to reduce the number of such permits, the Journal said. Khan is a partner in investor Friedman's Alfa Group.

Dudley had requested to rescind the request, calling it unauthorized, according to an immigration official.