Azerbaijan's most senior energy official has called for further scrutiny of the international consortium which is developing the Caspian Sea nation's main oil field amid mounting irritation at a slump in output.
Industry and Energy Minister Natiq Aliyev said today that the drop-off in production over recent years at the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli project had been "highly abnormal."
President Ilham Aliyev warned last week that errors by AIOC, the oil field development consortium led by BP, had cost the country £4.9bn in lost revenue so far.
BP Azerbaijan claims that it is working with state oil company Socar to address production issues.
The foreign ministry insisted that criticism should not be interpreted as a signal of worsening conditions for international investors in the oil industry.
BP controls a 35.8 per cent stake in the struggling project while Socar has 11.6 per cent and Chevron 11.3 per cent.