Azerbaijan's leader assails BP over falling output


BAKU, Azerbaijan -- Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliev has criticized a consortium led by BP PLC for a slump in production at the Caspian Sea nation's main oil field.

Aliev said in remarks televised late Wednesday that the decline in output was caused by "numerous mistakes" made by the consortium, where BP is the largest shareholder and operator. He said the production volumes at the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli field have been below BP's own forecasts over the past few years, costing the ex-Soviet nation more than $8 billion in lost income.

A spokesperson for BP Azerbaijan said the company is working together with Azerbaijan's state oil company to address production issues.

BP is also the biggest shareholder in the $4 billion Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which carries Caspian crude to Turkey for exports to Western markets.