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BP replaces Azeri head following oil output spat

A BP logo is seen in front of an apartment block near a petrol station in Moscow October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
A BP logo is seen in front of an apartment block near a petrol station in Moscow October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

BAKU (Reuters) - British oil major BP replaced Rashid Javanshir as its regional head in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, the company said in a statement on Friday, following criticism from the country's leadership over declining oil output.

Gordon Birrell, who currently holds a senior post in BP's production division, will take the position from mid-November. Javanshir has been appointed to a top post in the company's London office.

BP, which operates the Azer-Chirag-Guneshli (ACG) oil fields with estimated reserves of 1.2 billion tonnes, has come under fire from Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, who accused the British giant of making "false promises" on output.

BP was slated to produce 1 million barrels per day (bpd) as early as in 2008. Output from ACG went down from 823,000 bpd in 2010, but has since slumped to 684,000 bpd in the first half of 2012.

Aliyev, who said low oil output is to blame for an $8 billion hole in the state budget, had said BP promised to rectify the problems and replace the people responsible.

Two BP vice presidents have also left Azerbaijan following the rebuke. The company said staff changes had been scheduled in advance.

Last week BP said it had reached an agreement on ways to resolve production issues at the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli oilfields with SOCAR, the country's paramount energy firm and its key regional partner. (Reporting by Afet Mehdiyeva; Writing by Alexei Anishchuk; Editing by David Holmes)

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