Guychgeldi Baygeldiyev has been appointed chairman of Turkmenistan's state player Turkmennebit, according to a decree signed by the gas-rich Central Asian nation’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.

Baygeldiyev's predecessor Djaparguly Orazov, who had been interim head of Turkmennebit, was fired by the president, who criticised him for a lack of progress in the oil sector.

In a government meeting last week, Berdymukhamedov expressed his dissatisfaction “with the delays in the development of new fields and workover programmes in wells with low output rates”.

He also slammed Myratgeldi Meredov, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan's for oil and gas sector, “for unsatisfactory performance of his duties and deficiencies in his work”.

Berdymukhamedov also reprimanded his adviser for oil and gas affairs, Yashigeldy Kakayev, issuing him “with a last warning”.

He called on responsible bodies to intensify field developments and increase oil production, as well as making the sector more attractive for investors.

Turkmenistan produces between about 72 million and 73 million barrels of oil a year according to the official statistics. The main producers in the country are Turkmennebit, Italian major Eni's subsidiary Burren Energy, Dragon Oil of the United Arab Emirates, and Malaysia’s Petronas.

According to local geologists, almost the entire Turkmenistan is considered as promising for hydrocarbons, although potentially for gas, not oil.