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Azerbaijan Cut 2012 Oil Output 3.7%, Gas Production Grew 8.3%

Azerbaijan, the third-largest oil producer in the former Soviet Union, cut production in 2012 as output from the country’s largest oilfield, led by BP Plc, declined.

The Caspian Sea nation pumped 43.9 million metric tons of oil in January through December, a decline of 3.7 percent from last year, State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan President Rovnaq Abdullayev told reporters today in the capital, Baku.

Natural gas production rose 8.3 percent to 27.9 billion cubic meters, Abdullayev said.

The Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli field in Azerbaijan’s section of the Caspian Sea, which provided 78 percent of total output last year, cut production 12 percent in the first half of 2012, drawing criticism from Azeri President Ilham Aliyev.

BP has since replaced regional managers and brought in technicians to address “challenges” at the field, the U.K. producer said in October.

BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley met Aliyev in Baku on Dec. 18 and promised to stabilize output next year, Aliyev said in comments published by state-run daily Azarbaycan on Dec. 19.

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