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BP Fails to Reverse Output Decline at ACG Field in Azerbaijan

May 7 (Bloomberg) -- BP Plc failed to increase production at Azerbaijan’s largest oilfield in the first quarter even after coming under fire from the nation’s president.

The Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli field in Azerbaijan’s section of the Caspian Sea produced 8.06 million metric tons (662,000 barrels a day) of oil in the first three months of 2013, down 8.4 percent from a year earlier, BP said today in a statement.

In a televised speech in October, President Aliyev criticized the output slump that started at the end of 2010, demanding that BP replace those responsible. London-based BP subsequently switched executives in the region and said it planned “long-term stabilization of ACG production,” which made up 77 percent of total Azeri output last year.

The latest decline compares with an 8.3 percent drop in the first quarter of last year. The offshore natural gas field of Shah Deniz, also led by BP, increased production 21 percent in the first quarter to 2.42 billion cubic meters. BP’s local office in Baku, the Azeri capital, didn’t give an explanation for the production figures. Tamam Bayatli, BP’s spokeswoman in the region, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

ACG, where partners include State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan, or Socar, Statoil ASA, Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp., cut production 7 percent last year to 32.9 million tons. Socar said in October output would be 33 million tons this year before rising to 35 million tons in 2014.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zulfugar Agayev in Baku at zagayev@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Hellmuth Tromm at htromm@bloomberg.net

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