A HISTORICAL VISIT: Companies signed deals worth more than £700 million during last summer’s historic first visit by a British Prime Minister to Kazakhstan
On 30 June 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron became the first British premier to visit Kazakhstan. A business delegation of 30 small and large companies from a diverse range of sectors including energy, high tech manufacturing, education, architecture and financial and professional services joined the Prime Minister for this historic trip. Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green and the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, Charles Hendry, accompanied the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister used the two-day visit to help British businesses build new relationships in this leading Central Asian economy. The UK and Kazakhstan already enjoy a strong trade and investment relationship based on free market access, significant two-way trade and regular dialogue at senior levels. The UK is one of the largest investors in Kazakhstan, having provided almost £10 billion of total foreign direct investment since the country’s independence in 1991. But the country remains a source of untapped potential.
Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green said: ‘Kazakhstan is emerging as the dominant economy in central Asia and offers many opportunities for British businesses small and large across a wide variety of sectors. This first ever trade delegation led by a British Prime Minister demonstrates our commitment to strengthen the trade and investment links between our two countries.’
Since 2000, the economy of Kazakhstan has been one of the ten highest performing economies in the world. The World Bank predicts that it will become a high-income country by the end of the decade. There are significant and attractive development opportunities for British companies of all sizes across multiple sectors, but especially in oil and gas, where leading British companies including BG Group and Shell have made long-term investments. Kazakhstan is currently developing the Karachaganak gas condensate field, one of the largest in the world, and the Kashagan oil field, the largest deposit found in the last 30 years. In addition to oil and gas, there are also high profile opportunities, including a growing cooperation in the vocational education and skills development arena. Kazakhstan is hosting Expo 2017 in Astana, with the theme ‘Future Energy’, presenting commercial opportunities for UK companies in many sectors including renewables and green technology sectors, as well as in architecture, event security and publicity.
Kazakhstan will also host the 2017 Winter World Student Games, which presents opportunities for British companies in design, construction and event management. Kazakhstan also has an ambitious new space technology development programme, and will require
funds to further develop their scientific and technical knowledge.
Several British and Kazakh companies signed a number of contracts and memorandums of understanding (MOU), to pave the way for closer cooperation between businesses from both countries. A number of deals were announced, including:
• Dando Drilling International signed a MOU with the Kazakhstan government worth £22 million, regarding a joint venture for the local production and assembly of mineral exploration, water well and geotechnical drilling rigs.
• Kilfrost, a global leader in de/anti-icing products, signed a MOU with the Mayor of the City of Asana, potentially worth around £50 million.
• UK Export Finance (UKEF), has signed an agreement with United Chemical Company of Kazakhstan to collaborate on the possibility of offering export credit loans to assist the financing of a US$4 billion Integrated Petrochemical Complex and Infrastructure Project in Kazakhstan. UKEF will consider providing a guarantee for export credit loans of up to £526 million to support British companies bidding for contracts on the projects.
• Petrofac, a leading international service provider to the oil and gas industry, signed a MOU with KazMunaiGas Exploration Production JSC. The MOU allows the parties to explore opportunities to improve the efficiency of oil production and increase production from the mature Emba fields of KMG EP’s 100 per cent subsidiary EmbaMunaiGas JSC.
• SUN Gold Ltd has announced it will increase its joint venture investment in the Yubileinoye gold mine. The joint venture’s total stake in the mine, including prior investments, will total £263 million.
• Surrey Satellite Technology signed a contract with Ghalam LLP for the collaborative design and development of the Kazakh Science and Technology Satellite system, which will include training for up to 18 Kazakh engineers. Under the terms of the contract, Surrey Satellites will construct new optical satellites for future Kazakh space missions.
• Atkins, the design, engineering and project management consultancy, signed a MOU with sovereign wealth fund ‘Samruk-Kazyna’ JSC to establish and develop long-term cooperation.
• Virgin Mobile Central & Eastern Europe and Kazakh Telecom JSC signed a MOU to investigate the feasibility of launching a Virgin-branded telecommunications company offering innovative mobile and related services including broadband and TV to Kazakh consumers using Kazakh Telecom’s LTE, 3G and broadband network capabilities and infrastructure.
• The Institute of Directors (IOD) announced its partnership with the Sovereign Wealth Fund ‘Samruk-Kazyna’ JSC to share its expertise in international corporate governance and executive education, and to foster trade links with IOD members and the wider UK business community.
• The British Council announced two new partnerships: A MOU with the Astana Mayor’s Office to support UK-Kazakhstan collaboration in the fields of education, training and culture as part of Kazakhstan’s preparations for Expo 2017. They signed a second MOU with Orleu, the national teacher training organisation to support access to the best UK training and learning resources.
UK-KAZAKH PARTNERSHIPS: Relations between the UK and Kazakhstan are the best they have ever been, says Charles Hendry MP, the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Kazakhstan
There is no doubt that relations between the UK and Kazakhstan are the best they have ever been.
The visit by the Prime Minister in July – the first by a serving British Prime Minister – marked a step-change in the relationship and we are already seeing the commercial benefits as a consequence.
The Prime Minister and President Nazabayev established a new Intergovernmental Commission, which was formally signed in London in October, to take forward cooperation in three main areas: oil and gas; wider commercial opportunities; and education.
Since the visit, we have already seen a successful meeting of the Kazakh-British Trade & Industry Council in Astana, attended by around 30 British companies, and more recently the Kazakh Business Forum in London in November.
The Prime Minister appointed eight Trade Envoys at the end of last year to assist British companies to take advantage of the vast opportunities in fast-growing markets like Kazakhstan. It was recognition that the UK has not given enough attention to these markets in the past, and we are determined to see a transformation in the level of engagement. Regular visits and delegations, led by the Envoys, give companies the confidence to make the first steps into new markets, and then hopefully to expand.
Our relationship with Kazakhstan has historically been in oil and gas. Shell’s engagement in the giant Kashagan project and BG’s partnership in Karachaganak have highlighted the role British companies can play in the largest and most sophisticated hydrocarbon projects in the world. However, we want a relationship with Kazakhstan which goes well beyond oil and gas.
The most natural next step is in the energy service sector, where there are world-class British companies with skills to offer. The joint vision is to create an ‘Aberdeen on the Caspian’, emulating the success of the firms which have made Aberdeen a world-leading centre in the industry, and to bring that expertise, creativity and training to a new hub from which they can provide services across the region.
Then we want to see business develop in a whole range of new areas of cooperation. Britain has strongly supported Astana as host city of Expo 2017, and that will be a unique opportunity to showcase to the world what this extraordinary country looks like 25 years after independence. Our success in hosting the 2012 Olympics has given the UK a one-off opportunity to give support to others hosting global events, and we want to be Kazakhstan’s partner of choice as it has its time on the world stage.
Astana is not just one of the world’s newest capitals, built almost from scratch in the last decade, but it is also one of the most striking, with magnificent modern architecture which shows off the country’s ambition and confidence. And just as some of those landmark buildings have been designed by UK architects, Britain stands to do well in both the design and construction of the infrastructure for Expo, with its focus on low carbon.
If you visit, you’ll be surprised by the extraordinary progress this young country has made and its clear vision for its future; you’ll be surprised by the extent of the enthusiasm to do business with Britain; and you’ll be surprised just how many young Kazakhs speak perfect English and want nothing better than to tell you about the time they spent at university in the UK or their favourite football team.
Twenty years ago, the Government of Kazakhstan launched the Bolashak Scholarship programme to send many of its brightest students to the best universities in the world. Thousands have benefitted, and more have come to the UK than to anywhere else. So when you find a talented young Kazakh with an impeccable Birmingham or Mancunian accent, don’t be surprised, but celebrate a remarkable and growing bond between our countries!
Few people yet know this vast and changing country. But with a landmass the size of Western Europe and some of the world’s largest reserves of oil, gas, copper, uranium and many other resources, it is one we are going to hear a lot more about.
With the introduction of new direct Air Astana flights between London and Astana/Almaty, it has now become easier than ever to get on a plane to explore these opportunities, assisted by the UKTI team in the excellent Embassy.
And one more fact: it is a British agricultural centre that has established that every apple, apricot, garlic and tulip in the world can trace its heritage back to the same valley in Kazakhstan!
‘KAZAKHSTAN 2050’: Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kairat Abusseitov, observes his country’s development into a contemporary, forward-looking, confident state
After achieving independence in 1991, Kazakhstan was able quickly – particularly by historical standards – to establish a unique model of political stability and interethnic harmony based on dynamic economic growth.
Currently, Kazakhstan is experiencing a period of important domestic policies. President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced the ‘Kazakhstan 2050’ Strategy in December 2012. The Strategy outlined new priorities for our country’s development, with the major task to enter the top 30 most developed countries in the world. Goals previously set in ‘Strategy 2030’ – including to enter the top 50 most competitive countries of the world – have almost all been achieved ahead of time.
The past two decades have seen Kazakhstan make gigantic leaps forward, and our economy is booming. Twenty years ago the country’s economy was in ruins, with inflation at 2100 per cent. Today, GDP is US$12,000 per capita, which is 16 times more than the figure of US$700 in 1991. According to estimates by British experts, Kazakhstan was the third-fastest growing country out of the 25 most dynamic economies of the first decade of the twenty-first century. (Only China and Qatar have performed better.) We have saved more than US$66.6 billion in The National Fund of the Republic of Kazakhstan – the so-called ‘Fund for Future Generations.’ We plan to increase this figure to US$93.3 billion.
Nowadays, Kazakhstan is ninth place in the world in terms of proven oil reserves. In addition, the country occupies eighth place for coal reserves and second place for uranium reserves, and is also the global leader in the production of aluminium. Kazakhstan is among the world’s top 10 exporters of grain and is one of the leaders in the export of flour.
Kazakhstan is implementing a large-scale project called the ‘New Silk Road,’ which aims to revive the country’s historical role as the main nexus of the continent, turning it into the largest business and transit hub of the region, as well as a bridge between Europe and Asia.
It should be noted that Kazakhstan has created an attractive climate for investors as a result of sound policies in its distribution of natural resources.
The government invests heavily in staff training and infrastructure to form a new category of people who are well educated, receive good wages and are ready to continue supporting their country. A competent, technically educated population is essential to allow us to develop the future economy away from the sale of energy resources.
Kazakhstan was one of the first countries among the states of the former Soviet Union to participate in the European Higher Education Area. In 2010, we joined the European Cultural Convention and the Bologna Process, establishing a special study abroad programme – the Bolashak Scholarship Programme. Since 1993, the state has funded over 8,000 young
Kazakhstanis to study at the best universities in the world.
Kazakhstan’s healthcare system has also been radically reformed, and since 1991 its financing has increased by over 100 times.
At present, we can confidently say that Kazakhstan’s model of development, with an emphasis on industrialisation, is bearing fruit. Kazakhstan ranks amongst the five richest countries in Asia according to average per capita income. In the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking we share 10th place for the protection of investors along with Great Britain and South Africa. On taxation, we find ourselves ranked between the UK and Switzerland in 17th position in the world.
During the independence years, Kazakhstan has made enormous contributions to international peace and security. Our government has introduced many measures to this end, including: the renunciation of nuclear weapons; the creation of confidence-building measures in Asia; the strengthening of the integration process in Eurasia; encouraging dialogue between civilisations and religions; and active participation in the strengthening of global security in the fight with international terrorism and extremism amongst others.
Kazakhstan has been able to take pride of place in international society, developing partnerships with our neighbours – Russia, China, the countries of Central Asia as well as the US and the EU.
In 2010, Kazakhstan presided over the chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The decision to award Kazakhstan this chairmanship was recognition of our achieving a democratic society.
Our chairmanship of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) came at a difficult period in the contemporary history of the Islamic world. Under the motto ‘Peace, Cooperation and Development,’ Kazakhstan focused its efforts to overcome humanitarian crises, resolve conflicts, develop new mechanisms of cooperation and promote dialogue between the Islamic world and the West.
In 2012, a Single Economic Space began to function between Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus. Our immediate goal is to create a Eurasian Economic Union.
As a leader in Central Asia, Kazakhstan is making significant contributions to strengthening stability in the region. Kazakhstan is the largest donor among Central Asian states. Currently, a national agency for official development and technical assistance is being created in Kazakhstan. One of the priority areas of activity will be implementing aid projects in Afghanistan. The peace and security of the Central Asia region depends on the normalisation of the situation in this country.
Kazakhstan initiated the convening of an authoritative international platform of dialogue: the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICBMA). Today, the CICBMA unites 24 countries with a population of over three billion people.
I cannot help but mention the Kazakhstan team’s triumphant performance at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Our country became one of the world’s leading sporting powers, achieving 12th place in the medal table.
Towards the end of last year it was decided that Astana would host ‘EXPO-2017’ a under the tagline ‘Future Energy’. Indeed, Astana’s candidature received two thirds of the votes of member states from the International Exhibitions Bureau.
In January 2012, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations with the UK. We have established a constructive dialogue between our countries, which promotes a regular exchange of visits at all levels.
The British Prime Minister’s November 2012 report on UK foreign policy revealed that Kazakhstan was included in the list of 14 priority countries with which to enhance mutual trade and investment, as well as the appointment of a trade envoy on behalf of the Prime Minister for Kazakhstan, Charles Hendry MP. It was followed by a series of important trade missions during the first half of 2013.
From 30 June to 1 July 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron made the first visit to Kazakhstan since bilateral relations were established between the two countries. During the visit, a joint declaration on strategic partnership was signed, as were 13 agreements with an initial commercial value of US$1.2 billion, taking cooperation between the two countries to a new level – to that of a strategic partnership.
After the Netherlands and the US, the UK is the third largest investor into Kazakhstan’s economy, primarily in the oil and gas and mining sectors. (According to the National Bank of Kazakhstan, the total volume of British FDI into Kazakhstan from 1993 to 2012 amounted to US $11.7 billion.) Large British companies in Kazakhstan operate in the energy, mining, metallurgy, healthcare, food and banking sectors. These companies include: BG, Shell, AMEC, Invensys, BAE Systems, Rio Tinto, Rolls Royce, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ernst & Young, PwC, Deloitte, MarchGroup, KPMG, SNR Denton, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZenaca, Hambledon Mining, Dando Drilling and Sun Gold.
A number of organisations exist to promote economic and trade cooperation between the two countries. These include: the Kazakh-British Commercial and Industrial Council; the British-Kazakh Society; and the British-Kazakh Law Association, including the ‘Business to Business’ initiative. Since 2003, there has been a UKTI office in Atyrau as well as a UKTI initiative to support a group of British energy companies in the oil and gas sector in Kazakhstan – ‘KOGIG UK.’
During a visit to the UK by Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and New Technologies, Asset Issekeshev, in October this year, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the two governments to establish an Intergovernmental Commission for Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation. This mechanism is designed to supervise the implementation of the agreements reached during the above-mentioned visits, along with existing and future bilateral projects.
Following an invitation from UK Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, Kazakhstan’s Minister of Defence, Adilbek Dzhaksybekov made an official visit to London in October. The defence ministers discussed issues of the joint-command and staff exercises of peacekeeping units from both countries, in order to further prospects for Kazakh-British military cooperation.
Other areas of cooperation with great potential include multilateral and interparliamentary cooperation, culture and education. Today, many thousands of young Kazakhstanis study in leading British universities, acting as the country’s ‘ambassadors’ in the UK. And after their return to Kazakhstan, they will help the further social and economic development of our state.
Overall, Kazakhstan has become a contemporary, forward-looking, confident state as well as a responsible partner in the international arena. We are grateful to the UK for its support of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy and economic initiatives in the international arena.
THE DAY OF THE FIRST PRESIDENT: The Embassy in London writes about an important celebration of 20 years as an Independent Kazakhstan
Since independence 20 years ago, Kazakhstan has undergone a difficult but successful transition to independent statehood. The country has achieved national unity and has created a thriving market economy. New national holidays have been designated and celebrated throughout the country. Importantly, in 2012 Kazakhstan marked its first ‘Day of the First President’ – a special holiday that is distinctive because it means different things to different people.
1 December 1991 marks an important day in the history of Kazakhstan. It was the day the country held its first nationwide presidential elections, with Nursultan taking 98.78 per cent of the vote – an indication of the overwhelming support for his leadership across the country.
The establishment of presidential power in Kazakhstan was a necessary development that brought much-needed stability to the political system in the country. During President Nazarbayev’s inauguration at the Palace of the Republic in the then capital Almaty on 10 December 1991, the President vowed to serve the people of the multi-ethnic state, obey the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, guarantee the rights and freedoms of citizens, and also fulfil his rightful duties as President. For the past 20 years, President Nazarbayev has demonstrated his commitment to successful state-building in Kazakhstan.
Since its independence, Kazakhstan has been particularly successful in its foreign policy initiatives under President Nazarbayev. Kazakhstan has become a new, powerful regional player as well as a proactive participant in contemporary global politics. The country has been recognised internationally for its work with leading multilateral international organisations such as the UN and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Indeed, in 2010 Kazakhstan chaired the OSCE, and in 2011-12 the country chaired the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. In 2012, Kazakhstan was elected to the UN Human Rights Council.
Just in the past 12 months, Kazakhstan has hosted two round of talks on Iran’s nuclear programme in Almaty which were attended by representatives from the E3+3 group and Iran, as well as the Third Ministerial Conference of the Istanbul Process aimed at promoting stability and development in Afghanistan. The country is seen increasingly as a strategic partner across the globe.
The ‘Day of the First President’ is a celebration of great importance not only for Kazakhstan but for the whole Eurasian region. President Nazarbayev has been a powerful force in promoting the region globally and in creating a greater voice for the countries of Eurasia.
Today, Kazakhstan is part of the Customs Union and Common Economic Space together with Belarus and Russia. This is the basis for the Eurasian Economic Union that will be fully established in 2015, and which aims to bring stability and prosperity to the region.
The ‘Day of the First President’ is an important celebration of 20 years of an independent Kazakhstan, and of the country’s achievements both domestically and internationally.
NEW SILK ROAD: Managing Director of Communications at the New Silk Road Forum, Will Salomone, says Kazakhstan is a New Silk Road Hub
The ‘New Silk Road’ is the term increasingly used to describe the important trade and economic links spanning Eurasia from East Asia through Central Asia and the Middle East to Europe. Some commentators expand this to cover a broad arch stretching all the way from Australia to the Americas. Regardless of how expansive one’s view of the ‘New Silk Road’ is, no one would dispute that the nations of Central Asia lie at its very core – and that Kazakhstan is one of its key hubs.
Politically stable and with a highly competitive geographic location at the junction of Europe, the Middle East and Asia, Kazakhstan has made truly impressive strides in building a market economy since achieving independence in 1991. Between 2000 and 2010, it was one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, and while growth slowed during 2012 due to weaker metal prices and a decline in agricultural output, the economy is predicted to grow by 7.1 per cent in 2015, outperforming most other emerging markets.
Much of this impressive growth comes courtesy of Kazakhstan’s well-known cornucopia of natural resources – the country ranks twelfth in the world in terms of oil reserves and nineteenth for natural gas resources, as well as plentiful metal and mineral supplies, most notably uranium, copper and zinc. The Kazakh government is determined however to ensure the national economy is not over dependent on extractive natural resources – the so-called ‘Dutch disease’ – and has embarked on an ambitious diversification programme aimed at developing targeted sectors such as transport, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and food processing.
The success of this programme will be key in achieving Kazakhstan’s stated ambition of becoming one of the top 30 developed countries by 2050. For example, while its Caspian Sea ports, pipelines and rail lines carrying oil have been extensively upgraded, civil aviation and road networks need attention and investment, vital to a sparsely habited, landlocked country that urgently needs to reduce transport costs and facilitate movement and the delivery of domestic public services. Further investment is also needed in telecoms, the national information technology base and in enhancing human capital to achieve these ambitions and drive innovation and economic efficiency.
The shrewd and pragmatic approach taken by the Kazakh government towards economic development over the past two decades strongly suggests the programme will be successful. The first ex-Soviet nation to receive an investment grade credit rating, Kazakhstan remains highly popular with foreign investors, 41 per cent of whom – according to a report produced by Ernst & Young – anticipate the country’s attractiveness for FDI to improve over the next three years. Already the second most popular investment destination in the Commonwealth of Independent States region after Russia, Kazakhstan’s appeal to international investors will increase if its bid to join the World Trade Organisation proves successful.
Abundant natural resources, macroeconomic, social and political stability, and a government with a track record of success which is committed to diversifying the national economy, Kazakhstan is indisputably one of the key engines for growth in the Central Asia region. Certainly, no-one with any serious interest in the New Silk Road can afford to ignore the opportunities Kazakhstan offers. At the New Silk Road Forum, we have been working closely with the Kazakh Embassy in the UK – along with other Central Asian embassies – on various projects highlighting investment opportunities in sectors ranging from infrastructure to mining. We anticipate this cooperation will only increase as Kazakhstan continues to forge ahead in building a successful, modern and diverse economy.
STRENGTHENING KAZAKHSTAN’S PROFESSIONAL SKILLS and INDUSTRIAL BASE: Coordinator of the Aktau Declaration on Joint Actions, Lord Waverley, says Kazakhstan is not only open for business, but means business too
Creating an environment conducive to operational delivery and attracting investment is high on the agenda for those within government, operators, EPC contractors and trade associations linked with Kazakhstan’s oil and gas industry. Emphasis, however, is also on localisation with local content development, to encourage a more effective approach.
A London strategy meeting in June 2012, referred to as the London Process, and attended by all the major operators in Kazakhstan together with their international partners, identified the need for a mechanism to unify the individual local content development endeavours of operators, investors and agencies, to allow for the exchange of data and the development of new initiatives with achievable, sustainable outcomes and timelines.
It was agreed in the ensuing charter of good intent, the Aktau Declaration on Joint Actions, that a more unified and structured approach to local content and localisation would be adopted by Kazakhstan’s four lead operators: Karachaganak Petroleum Operating (KMG), Karachaganak Petroleum Operating (KPO), North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC) and Tengizchevroil LLP (TCO). A model for an open and supportive environment of understanding and common purpose has been created, to encourage alignment between stakeholders to accelerate sustainable progress and achievement. It is designed to improve coordination and consistency of local content programmes.
While there are operational challenges surrounding the delivery of the three world-class projects of Karachaganak, Kashagan and Tengiz within budget and timing in a secure and safe environment, the strengthening of Kazakhstan’s professional skills and industrial base – and so further the opportunities for the companies and citizens to benefit directly from oil and gas projects – are part of the strategy to develop homegrown capability in the sector. Challenges and forthcoming opportunities for the creation of new jobs also exercise the minds of those engaged with the industry.
The Terms of Reference use the framework ‘How It Is – How It Will Be,’ which contains a number of priority activities:
• Development of Services and Manufacturing Sectors: to consider current challenges and forthcoming opportunities to develop of Kazakhstan’s Manufacturing and Services industries as part of a strategy to develop greater indigenous capability in the sector; these activities to include attracting cooperation agreements with technology transfer by companies working in the global oil and gas supply.
• Standards, Tendering Processes, Specifications, Code of Practice, Health & Safety: encourage and implement harmonisation linked to a Code of Practice.
• Kazakhstan Industrial Capacity Register: consider differing sources of reference to identify current and potential capacity in the oil and gas sector and non-oil and gas sector, understand the ongoing work of Kazakhstan’s government agencies in this area with reference to best industry practice.
• Training, Skills, Human Resource Development; assemble available information on the programmes underway in Kazakhstan; develop a collective understanding; and identify strategies to accelerate progress.
• Research and Development: to make a strong connection to current research and development programmes that are taking place in the oil and gas sector within the Republic of Kazakhstan and to identify additional localisation opportunities in that effort.
Whilst current individual local content programmes continue to make progress, and with the full recognition of the rights of operators and investors to develop their own strategies and programmes, a Task Force was formed to enable a greater sharing of knowledge and a better coordination of effort to accelerate outcomes towards a common goal. This Task Force would also develop the domestic supply chain and contribute to long-term sustainable employment that will make a substantial contribution to both Kazakhstan and hydrocarbon delivery globally. Monthly meetings to review progress and timelines are held in Astana to deliver on objectives.
The next immediate steps related to the Aktau Declaration are to acquire information on future industry procurement needs in order to compile a top-ten list on future potential services and manufacturing that could be provided by local companies, with joint ventures with specialist companies from around the world to supply appropriate technology transfer. The need for a supply and demand analysis of skills and human resources of operators and EPC companies will also be prepared to keep the interaction between providers of education and the oil and gas industry. Particular attention is also currently being given to the harmonisation of standards, specification, code of practice and tendering processes, and to assist in the development of industrial capacity registers.
While it is a journey creating the environment to allow for the strengthening of the professionals skills and industrial base of Kazakhstan and the implementation of concrete foreign investment projects in services and equipment and goods manufacturing dedicated to Kazakhstan’s oil and gas supply chain, the processes to advance them are being fast-tracked, and the technical, commercial and socio-economic challenges are not being underestimated. The rewards are great and the opportunities for the UK’s professionalism and experience, building on its existing comparative advantage, are large.