MOSCOW (AFP) – Net profits at British-Russian oil major TNK-BP plunged 57 percent in the first half of 2009 to 2.01 billion dollars (1.21 billion pounds) because of falling prices, the company said on Tuesday.

TNK-BP said its turnover fell 49 percent to 28.3 billion dollars as export prices for Russian oil more than halved to 50.9 dollars per barrel from 105.6 dollars a year earlier.

Output of oil and gas however rose 3.1 percent as new projects came on line, acting chief executive Mikhail Fridman said in a statement.

For the three months to June alone, net profit was 1.26 billion dollars on sales of 8.16 billion dollars.

TNK-BP is the third largest oil producer in Russia after Rosneft and Lukoil and represents around a quarter of BP's global oil production.

The joint venture last year was riven by a fierce dispute over control between BP and its Russian partners that was resolved in September