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Azerbaijan frets over BP role in gas field

BAKU, Azerbaijan, June 4 (UPI) -- Azerbaijani Minister for Industry and Energy Natig Aliyev expressed concern Wednesday over the role of British Petroleum in development of Azeri gas fields.

"This is my private viewpoint that (British Petroleum) postpones this project," Aliyev said.

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The minister said the development of Stage 2 of the Shah Deniz field was scheduled for 2012, but said delays on the part of British Petroleum pushed that timetable to 2013.

The Shah Deniz field is the largest in Azerbaijan. Its reserves could supply Europe with natural gas without traversing politically sensitive countries such as Iran or Russia. British Petroleum holds a 25.5 percent stake in its development.

Aliyev said increasing European energy demands means British Petroleum needs to "intensify some processes," the Trend Capital News Agency reported.

"I think that peak (in gas production from Stage 2) can be increased to (1.1 trillion cubic feet) in gas a year," he said.

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