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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: The British oil giant BP is replacing the head of its Alaskan operation-Steve Marshall. This follows major problems at the company's Prudhoe Bay oil field due to pipeline corrosion. From London, Marketplace's Stephen Beard reports.

STEPHEN BEARD: BP says the replacement of Steve Marshall has nothing to do with its problems in Alaska.

Analysts here take that with a grain of salt. Marshall has presided over a series of setbacks: a massive oil spill, labor unrest and the closure of half the Prudhoe Bay oil field this summer.

After BP's other big American troubles like the Texas City Refinery Fire, it was inevitable that at least one head would roll, says David Buik of Cantor Index:

DAVID BUIK: "You cannot have three fairly serious disasters and not actually change some of the management. It isn't a question of admitting guilt. It's just a question of taking sensible remedial action."

Last month BP shareholders took action of their own.

They launched a lawsuit against the company's executives. They're seeking compensation for the sharp fall in BP's share price due to the American difficulties.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.