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Former BP head Tony Hayward leaving Genel Energy

Iraqi-focused company Genel focusing on gas assets after struggling for several years.

By
Daniel J. Graeber
Tony Hayward is retiring from top position at Iraqi energy player Genel Energy, his post that followed the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico. File photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI.
Tony Hayward is retiring from top position at Iraqi energy player Genel Energy, his post that followed the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico. File photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI. | License Photo

April 24 (UPI) -- After moving over from BP, Tony Hayward is retiring as the chairman of the board of Iraqi oil and gas player Genel Energy, the company announced Monday.

Genel Chief Executive Murat Ozgul announced Hayward is retiring as of June 6.

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"When we first started working together, the oil industry in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq was still in its infancy, without an export pipeline and there was a high degree of uncertainty over export sales," he said in a statement. "Kurdistan now has a fully operational pipeline infrastructure exporting up to 600,000 barrels of oil per day, and Taq Taq and Tawke have a proven track record of international sales and significant cash generation."

Hayward, the former chief executive officer, was appointed chairman when Rodney Chase resigned from the position in 2015. Ozgul, who served as chief commercial officer since 2008 and president of Turkey and Kurdish operations, ascended to CEO.

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Hayward left BP after a corporate reshuffling in late 2010 moved Bob Dudley into the top position of the company. Hayward was the public face of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy that resulted in 11 rig-worker deaths and led to one of the worst oil spills in history.

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Genel in its latest financial report acknowledged the last three years were difficult. Lower crude oil prices last year meant poor returns for the exploration and production sector. Operations near flagship production facilities in the Kurdish north of Iraq were clouded by security challenges and production from its regional Taq Taq field moved sharply lower in part because of reserve downgrades.

Net production from Genel last year averaged 53,300 barrels of oil per day, at the low end of its guidance for 2016 and down 37 percent from 2015.

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While recognizing the significant downturn, spokesman Andrew Benbow told UPI in March there were opportunities emerging for the creation of value from its natural gas assets.

"Genel has operated in a very tough environment in recent years but I believe the company has renewed momentum and significant opportunities in the portfolio," incoming Chairman Stephen Whyte said in a statement.

Whyte comes to Genel after a long career with Royal Dutch Shell and BG Group.

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