Business News in Brief

Kazakhstan’s state oil and gas company KazMunaiGas has bought a 24.5 percent stake held by U.S. energy major ConocoPhillips in the Nursultan offshore oil block in the Caspian Sea. The block holds an estimated 270 million tonnes of recoverable oil reserves and commercial production at the field is expected to start in 2016. With the acquisition of the stake, KazMunaiGas will now hold a 75.5 percent share in the exploration and development project and the Abu Dhabi state investment company Mubadala will hold the remaining 24.5 percent.

A new high-speed rail being built to link Kazakhstan’s former capital and business centre Almaty with the northern capital Astana will reduce the travel time for riders by eight hours, local media reported at the end of January. Travel time between the cities will be reduced from 13 hours to five hours. “This route will be around 1,100 km [683 miles] long,” national railway monopoly Kazakhstan Temir Zholy Public Relations Director Murat Buldekbayev said.

Kazakhstan experts have calculated that the EXPO 2017 exhibition in Astana may bring $520 to $910 million in profits. EXPO 2017 may be visited by four to seven million people. According to analysis of specialized exhibitions of recent years, one visitor brings a profit of around $130. Tickets to the latest exhibitions cost around $30. The EXPO 2017 budget has not been drawn yet, but the numbers are expected to be publicized at the end of 2013. Right now, it is known that 250 million euros will be allocated from the state budget for construction of infrastructure, communications and preparation of the exhibition site. Around one billion euros is expected to be invested into construction of the exhibition pavilions and hotels.

The heads of organisations in the field of extracting crude oil and natural gas receive the highest salaries in Kazakhstan – 1.204 million tenge per month (approximately $8000 dollars. The exchange rate is 150.6 KZT/USD), or 5.2 times higher than the average wage of managers in the country, according to the Statistics Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, there is a significant gap in remuneration of the labour of employees in various types of economic activity and occupations. The most highly paid specialists in the production of refined petroleum products are foremen, technologists and heads of production (256,000-343,000 tenge).Workers in the field of air transport got an average salary of 211,000 tenge, whereas for employees of financial and insurance sectors, this figure was at 180,000 tenge. In the construction industry the maximum salary among highly qualified specialists was received by economists (190,000 tenge), and among qualified professionals – by facing workers and marble masons (232,000 tenge) and parquet floor layers (195,000 tenge). Covering all major positions and professions, women’s wages were lower than men’s wages. Remuneration for a higher education institution teacher was 82,000 tenge with a difference between the regions of 1.8 times. The salary of a teacher in secondary education and elementary school was 74,000 tenge, with a 1.5 times difference respectively and instructors received 55,000 tenge with a 1.5 times difference.

Samruk Green Energy (100-percent owned by Samruk-Energy) and KazAgroFinance signed an agreement on intentions of the joint sales of small wind generators to be produced by Samruk Green Energy jointly with German company KD Stahl und Maschinenbau in the Innovative Technologies Park Free Economic Zone. The wind generators will have different capacities: from 300W to 7kW. Their main advantage lays in production of energy at small wind speeds (from 2m/sec), regardless of its direction. Samruk-Energy was established in May 2007. It is part of the Samruk-Kazyna National Welfare Fund. The company’s activities include production, distribution and sales of electric and heat energy, as well as production of power-generating coal.

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