BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Azerbaijan's top energy official urged further scrutiny of the international consortium developing the Caspian Sea nation's main oil field amid mounting irritation at a slump in output.
Industry and Energy Minister Natiq Aliyev said Monday that the drop-off in production over recent years at the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli project was "abnormal."
President Ilham Aliyev said last week that errors by AIOC, the field development consortium led by BP, had cost the oil-dependent country $8 billion in lost revenue. The sharp tone of that statement stoked speculation of increasingly punitive conditions for international investors, as the government seeks to maintain state expenditures despite stagnating energy revenues.
The frustration has also been sharpened by the discrepancy between production and BP's own forecasts.
"We see large numbers that are significantly different from those planned, which means either that the project was conceived improperly or that activities carried out to stabilize oil production are insufficient," Aliyev said at an energy conference in the capital, Baku.
BP Azerbaijan says it's working with state oil company SOCAR to address production issues.
In 2011, Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli produced around 717,600 barrels a day, which amounted to 35.4 million tons over the entire year. The average daily output peaked at 823,100 barrels in 2010.
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