Why is Tony Hayward in Azerbaijan?

Hillary Clinton wasn’t the only high-profile visitor to stop by Baku for some "reassuring" this week. BP CEO Tony "embattled" Hayward was there as well: BP’s embattled chief executive on Tuesday visited oil-rich Azerbaijan in a bid to assuage fears that his company may sell assets in the country to help pay for the clean-up ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images
CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images
CHRIS KLEPONIS/AFP/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton wasn't the only high-profile visitor to stop by Baku for some "reassuring" this week. BP CEO Tony "embattled" Hayward was there as well:

BP's embattled chief executive on Tuesday visited oil-rich Azerbaijan in a bid to assuage fears that his company may sell assets in the country to help pay for the clean-up of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. [...]

While in Baku, Hayward met with President Ilkham Aliyev and "reiterated BP's commitment to Azerbaijan and continuing successful cooperation" with the government and the state-owned oil and gas company SOCAR, the British oil company said in a statement.[...]

Hillary Clinton wasn’t the only high-profile visitor to stop by Baku for some "reassuring" this week. BP CEO Tony "embattled" Hayward was there as well:

BP’s embattled chief executive on Tuesday visited oil-rich Azerbaijan in a bid to assuage fears that his company may sell assets in the country to help pay for the clean-up of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. […]

While in Baku, Hayward met with President Ilkham Aliyev and "reiterated BP’s commitment to Azerbaijan and continuing successful cooperation" with the government and the state-owned oil and gas company SOCAR, the British oil company said in a statement.[…]

BP’s three major projects in the Azerbaijan comprise an offshore oil field in the Caspian Sea; a 30 percent share in an export oil pipeline which goes to Turkey; and 25 percent in Shah Deniz, a massive Caspian Sea gas field. Russia’s Gazprom voiced an interest last month in BP’s share in Shah Deniz, but the British company has so far ruled out any sale.

Hayward also visited Moscow last week — where the government has made life difficult for BP in the past — to reaffirm his company’s commitment to investors there. With his yacht racing and less than stellar performance in congressional hearings, Hayward hasn’t done much for his company’s public image in the United States. BP may have decided that his time will be put to better using reassuring investors and competitors abroad that there’s no blood in the water along with all that oil.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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