The Kashagan oil development named an executive from Exxon Mobil to run the $50 billion offshore Kazakhstan venture.
Stephane de Mahieu was named to the post Friday.
The Exxon secondee became managing director as of May 1, 2014.
The Kashagan shareholders are Eni, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Total and Kazakh state oil company Kazmunaigas.
They each own 16.8 percent of the venture.
Japan’s Inpex and the China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) act as junior partners.
Kashagan — one of the biggest fields outside the Middle East — has been plagued by delays and cost overruns.
Production started last September but stopped after a month when gas leaks were found in the pipeline network.
Hans Wenck, a spokesman for the venture, said last week: “The appointment of an ExxonMobil secondee to managing director does not mean that Exxon is taking over the operatorship of North Caspian Sea Production Sharing Agreement.”
Production could be halted until 2016 whiles the partners replace faulty pipelines..
Italy’s Eni was named the original operator in 2001 but lost the role because of the delays and overruns.
“The field was meant to be producing 370,000 barrels per day at the peak of the first phase which is likely to be achieved only a few years after the field restart,” Reuters said.