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KAZAKSTAN


 

 

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 29,749 24,205 22,400 60
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,780 1,510 1,350 119
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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Update No: 358 - (26/11/10)

President recidivus
Presidential politics in Kazakhstan revolves around Nursaltan Nazerbayev and his next move. Kazakhstan changed its constitution in 2007 to remove term limits on Mr Nazarbayev's tenure of office.

A law introduced this year gives Mr Nazarbayev a lifetime veto over constitutional changes, a lifetime say over crucial government decisions, and grants the presidential family immunity from prosecution for acts committed during his rule. It also makes infringement on the secrecy of Mr Nazarbayev's bank accounts punishable with a sentence of up to five years in prison.

"It is an official statement. President Nazarbayev intends to run for President again in 2012," said Yermukhamet Yertysbayev, a presidential adviser. Mr Yertysbayev said that Mr Nazarbayev had set his sights on leading the transformation of the nation by 2020.

"It is very important to the President to make sure that his innovation programme until 2020 is completed, and that is why this stage, 2010-2020, is the most important one. He doesn't see any competitors who can achieve this." The announcement came in response to speculation in the opposition press that Mr Nazarbayev was considering cancelling the election and instead holding a national referendum to extend his term.

Dosym Satpaev, a political analyst at the Almaty-based Risk Assessment Group, said there was no doubt that Mr Nazarbayev would succeed. "I would like to emphasise that President Nazarbayev will win power in this election," he said. "Candidates will probably come forward from pro-presidential political parties, and perhaps the Communist party. But all these candidates will only be there to give the impression of a pluralistic election. It will be a myth."

Mr Yertysbayev dismissed concerns over Mr Nazarbayev's age. He will be 72 at the time of the election. "He is in very good physical shape so there are no worries about his health. His health condition is very good. I think it is absolutely the right decision."

Oil boom ahead
Kazakhstan's plans to boost oil output by 60 percent over the next decade may hinge on the state's ability to reassure foreign majors their billion-dollar investments will be protected by law, industry officials said. Foreign oil executives say privately they are concerned about growing state influence in Kazakhstan's lucrative energy sector and changes to the tax regime in a country with slightly over 3 percent of the world's recoverable oil reserves.

"The laws are relatively simple, but they leave too much to the discretion of the government," said a lawyer active in the energy sector, who declined to be identified.

Kazakhstan, already the largest oil producer in Central Asia, aims to increase crude output to 100 million tonnes by 2015 and 130 million by 2020, from 81 million forecast for this year, the Oil and Gas Ministry says.

Crude oil exports are forecast to rise to 88 million tonnes by 2015 from 73.8 million in 2010, while a $4 billion revamp will allow the country's three refineries to process 17.5 million tonnes of crude by 2015, up from 12.7 million tonnes this year, including some supplies of Russian crude. "Kazakhstan represents a significant source of incremental, non-OPEC oil supply," Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov told a conference in the capital, Astana, in early October.

Officials provided no clarity, however, on the start date for the key second phase of the Kashagan project -- the world's biggest oil discovery in more than 40 years and potentially the largest contributor to Kazakhstan's forecast oil boom. Cost overruns and assertive government policy, which opened the door for state oil and gas company KazMunaiGas [KMG.UL] to join the consortium of foreign investors that runs the field, have repeatedly delayed the project.

Oil and Gas Minister Sauat Mynbayev said Kashagan's first phase was on track to start producing oil as scheduled by 2013. But he said questions remained over the timetable for the larger second phase, pending completion of a field development plan.

ExxonMobil (XOM) is among the partners in the Kashagan consortium. Asked about the state's role in the energy sector, the company's senior vice-president, Mark Albers, said: "When agreements are changed along the way, that increases the risk."

He added: "Where there have been disagreements, we have been able to come to a resolution that has enabled the programmes to go forward."

STATE CONFIDENCE Kazakhstan plans to earn nearly $3 billion next year by doubling its oil export duty to $40 per tonne from Jan. 1, less than six months after the tax was reintroduced at $20 per tonne.

While the duty should swell state coffers, even some Kazakh oil executives said it could have damaged investor sentiment.

KazMunaiGas chief executive Kairgeldy Kabyldin estimated the state had effectively lost close to $1 billion after the market value of its London-traded unit, KazMunaiGas Exploration & Production (KMG EP), fell in response to the export duty.

"The market showed that investors reacted negatively to the additional export duty," he told a news conference in Almaty.

Kazakhstan's growing confidence that the state can play a significant role was in evidence at two major energy conferences held in the country recently.

The prime minister and many senior representatives of international oil majors were absent from the 18th Kazakhstan International& Gas Exhibition & Conference (KIOGE) event in the former capital, Almaty, the traditional annual gathering of Kazakhstan's oil and gas industry.

Instead, they spent the preceding two days in a futuristic conference centre in the showpiece capital Astana, attending the fifth event organised by the Kazenergy Association. Its chairman, Timur Kulibayev, is also the chairman of KazMunaiGas.

Looking to China
Billions of dollars of Chinese investment have helped support energy sector growth in Kazakhstan, which shares a border with the world's No. 2 consumer after the United States.

Philip Andrews-Speed, professor of energy policy at the University of Dundee in Scotland, said Central Asia would supply about 10 percent of China's crude oil imports this year and could maintain such a percentage as consumption rises.

The long-term challenge to Kazakhstan and other Caspian region states, he said, would be to ensure they are economically viable suppliers to China, which is not short of alternatives. "The international LNG market is often cheaper than gas transported 6,000 km (3,750 miles) by pipeline," said Andrews-Speed, a Chinese energy specialist.

"The Caspian region has a big challenge ahead to make sure it is seen by China as a favoured source for energy flows and investment." prime minister of Kazakhstan, Karim Masimov, who was in Singapore for an official visit.

Looking to Singapore
Mr Masimov was greeted on October 13 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a welcome ceremony at the Istana. After his meeting with Mr Lee, Mr Massimov headed to a site visit at Jurong Island. The Kazakhstan Prime Minister said a more direct relationship between Singapore and Kazakhstan would benefit both countries.

Speaking to MediaCorp at a separate event, the prime minister of Kazakhstan said he is looking to further develop ties with Singapore, mainly in the areas of healthcare and education.

Mr Masimov said: "Kazakhstan is well known worldwide for mineral and nature resources, and Singapore is a hub for (things like) technological education this part of the world. I think we need more cooperation and agreement from this part of the world, and Singapore can benefit from the fast-growing region in Central Asia."

Speaking to MediaCorp at a separate event, the prime minister of Kazakhstan said he is looking to further develop ties with Singapore, mainly in the areas of healthcare and education.

He added: "Where there have been disagreements, we have been able to come to a resolution that has enabled the programmes to go forward."

STATE CONFIDENCE Kazakhstan plans to earn nearly $3 billion next year by doubling its oil export duty to $40 per tonne from Jan. 1, less than six months after the tax was reintroduced at $20 per tonne.

While the duty should swell state coffers, even some Kazakh oil executives said it could have damaged investor sentiment.

KazMunaiGas chief executive Kairgeldy Kabyldin estimated the state had effectively lost close to $1 billion after the market value of its London-traded unit, KazMunaiGas Exploration & Production (KMG EP), fell in response to the export duty.

"The market showed that investors reacted negatively to the additional export duty," he told a news conference in Almaty.

Kazakhstan's growing confidence that the state can play a significant role was in evidence at two major energy conferences held in the country recently.

The prime minister and many senior representatives of international oil majors were absent from the 18th Kazakhstan International& Gas Exhibition & Conference (KIOGE) event in the former capital, Almaty, the traditional annual gathering of Kazakhstan's oil and gas industry.

Instead, they spent the preceding two days in a futuristic conference centre in the showpiece capital Astana, attending the fifth event organised by the Kazenergy Association. Its chairman, Timur Kulibayev, is also the chairman of KazMunaiGas.

Looking to China
Billions of dollars of Chinese investment have helped support energy sector growth in Kazakhstan, which shares a border with the world's No. 2 consumer after the United States.

Philip Andrews-Speed, professor of energy policy at the University of Dundee in Scotland, said Central Asia would supply about 10 percent of China's crude oil imports this year and could maintain such a percentage as consumption rises.

The long-term challenge to Kazakhstan and other Caspian region states, he said, would be to ensure they are economically viable suppliers to China, which is not short of alternatives. "The international LNG market is often cheaper than gas transported 6,000 km (3,750 miles) by pipeline," said Andrews-Speed, a Chinese energy specialist.

"The Caspian region has a big challenge ahead to make sure it is seen by China as a favoured source for energy flows and investment." prime minister of Kazakhstan, Karim Masimov, who was in Singapore for an official visit.

Looking to Singapore
Mr Masimov was greeted on October 13 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a welcome ceremony at the Istana. After his meeting with Mr Lee, Mr Massimov headed to a site visit at Jurong Island. The Kazakhstan Prime Minister said a more direct relationship between Singapore and Kazakhstan would benefit both countries.

Speaking to MediaCorp at a separate event, the prime minister of Kazakhstan said he is looking to further develop ties with Singapore, mainly in the areas of healthcare and education.

Mr Masimov said: "Kazakhstan is well known worldwide for mineral and nature resources, and Singapore is a hub for (things like) technological education this part of the world. I think we need more cooperation and agreement from this part of the world, and Singapore can benefit from the fast-growing region in Central Asia."

Speaking to MediaCorp at a separate event, the prime minister of Kazakhstan said he is looking to further develop ties with Singapore, mainly in the areas of healthcare and education.  
 

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