Azerbaijani president slams BP

Azerbaijani president slams BP

BAKU - Reuters
Azeri President İlham Aliyev slammed BP over falling oil output at a group of large fields that the oil major is developing with Western partners and said the firm had pledged to fix problems within one month.

“There were discussions with BP over decline in oil production and they admitted they had allowed some serious violations and promised to fix them within one month,” Aliyev said during a government meeting late on Oct 10.

The meeting was broadcast by Azeri state TV.BP’s spokeswoman in Azerbaijan, Tamam Bayatly, said the British company remained devoted to its Azeri operations, one of the biggest in the world for BP, and would work with state oil company SOCAR to resolve issues.

BP is the biggest foreign investor in Azerbaijan, where it operates the 1.2 billion tonne Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG) group of fields and the giant Shah Deniz gas project.

The prospect of so much non-OPEC crude ensured considerable western diplomatic support for the project, a major investment for BP.

ACG was supposed to produce more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd) after the project’s third phase was completed in 2008.

However, ACG has not lived up to expectations. After hitting 823,000 bpd in 2010, output has fallen. Production averaged 684,000 bpd in the first half of this year and oil executives and diplomats told Reuters last month the challenge is now to keep output at around 700,000 bpd.