Books on Kazakstan
Update No: 353 -
The Kazakh phenomenon
Kazakhstan is indubitably a remarkable
country. It is the size of Western Europe,
It has 60% of the FSU's mineral resources
- but little to show for it as yet.
But this can all change. It has a modest
population, 15 million or so. It is a sort
of lock-landed Australia – vast, sparsely
populated and yet richly-endowed with
It needs a statesman to lift it out of the
trough. Unfortunately it just has a slick
politician in charge, Nursultan Nazarbayev,
who is quite prepared to let his family
rip the place off for billions. It is
extraordinary, or rather inordinately
ordinary, quite how trite post-communist
rulers invariably are - self-enrichment is
always the name of the game. It is enough
to convert the most hardened advocate of
capitalism to communism!
Westward - Ho!
Still, Kazakhstan is playing the
capitalist game rather well. Its oil
output will rise by 4.7 percent this year,
coinciding with a rise in its economic
growth, Vice Energy Minister Lyazzat
Kiinov said May 19. He said gas production
would nearly double by 2015 to reach 65
billion cubic metres (bcm), up from 37 bcm
'In 2010 there will be further social and
economic growth,' Kiinov said at an oil
and gas conference in Paris. He said gross
domestic product would increase to between
1.5 to 2 percent in 2010, up from 1.1
percent in 2009.
The resource-rich Central Asian nation
returned to growth in the fourth quarter
of 2009 after the global economic downturn
and a slump in commodity prices sent the
economy into a tailspin during the first
Referring to the growth of the oil and gas
sector, he said he wanted a 'reliable,
fast and diverse' export system, but this
would be impossible without the
participation of neighbouring countries.
Kiinov reiterated that Central Asia's top
oil producer, which has announced plans to
review some contracts with foreigners,
would not target its largest project,
Kashagan. 'Investors in the Kashagan field
will not have to give a share to the
state,' Kiinov said, adding that any state
participation in the Caspian offshore
field would be based on negotiation.
The most spectacular oil discovery in
The development of Kashagan, the world's
largest oil discovery in 40 years, is
covered by one of the contracts known as
production sharing agreements (PSAs). It
contains at least 15bn barrels of oil.
The field is being developed by ENI,
Total, Shell, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil ,
Inpex and Kazakh state firm KazMunaiGas.
Commercial production at the field is due
to start in 2013.