Business News in Brief

  • Kazakh First Deputy Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev held a meeting of the government’s interagency commission to discuss regulation of business in the country, particularly President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s request to halve the number of permits needed by businesses, reported Primeminister.kz. The meeting was attended by members of Kazakhstan’s Parliament, the heads of central government bodies and members of the National Bank of Kazakhstan and National Chamber of Entrepreneurs. The group reviewed and approved proposals by its expert group on reducing and simplifying 134 permits. Chinese oil and gas field service company Recon Technology Ltd. has entered into a five-year renewable cooperation agreement with Kazakhstan’s Aktobe Petroleum Machinery Co. to build a technical service centre for pressure containers, such as heating furnaces, in Kazakhstan, reported RTT News. The two will work together to develop sales, marketing, maintenance and related services in the country for pressure containers. Aktobe Petroleum is a joint venture between the China Petroleum Technology and Development Corporation (CPTDC) and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).
  • Kazakh Minister of Energy Vladimir Shkolnik presented plans for the expansion of Tengizchevroil at a recent Central Communication Service press conference. The planned expansion will cost $14 billion and create 20,000 jobs, Shkolnik said, and the final decision on financing the project will be made at the end of 2015. The expansion is to include a new system of well production collection and facilities to support high-pressure infrastructure, as well as the construction of a new oil refining plant with a capacity of 12 million tonnes per year and a project to re-inject sour gas at 9.4 billion cubic metres per year. Implementing the expansion plans will bring annual oil production from Tengizchevroil from 26.5 million tonnes to 38.6 million tonnes per year, Shkolnik said.
  • KazTransGas, Kazakhstan’s gas production and transportation company, has signed an agreement with a subsidiary of Gazprom to cooperatein exploring and producing coal bed methane in Kazakhstan, reported the Times of Central Asia. Under the memorandum of cooperation, the two will collaborate to develop and access relevant technology and equipment, as well as share information, create joint ventures and launch a pilot project to explore methane coal seams. “Coal bed methane is an innovation direction in hydrocarbon production and a non-traditional energy source whose forecasted reserves mean it should be considered as an alternative component of Kazakhstan’s fuel and energy base. The study of this issue is important and in the future it may become an alternative option for gasification in central and northern Kazakhstan,” according to a KazTransGas press release about the project.
  • Kazakhstan’s domestic car makers have created a new pricing policy, reported Bnews.kz. “The domestic businesses are making every effort to retain their positions and meet the needs of motorists. They have declared tremendous discounts on popular models of cars, thanks to which the acquisition of vehicles in showrooms in Kazakhstan has become more profitable,” said president of the Kazakhstan Auto Business Association Andrei Lavrentiyev. Dealers and distributors are in talks with Russian manufacturers about fixing prices in rubles, he added. “Kazakhstan car manufacturers, for their part, are actively engaged in building a more affordable price for the Kazakh buyer, due to intensive work with factories and manufacturers to obtain more favourable purchase prices, work to optimise production, improve the localisation and implement a number of marketing tools,” said Lavrentiyev. The Kazakhstan Auto Business Association says that new car sales were down by almost 30 percent in January and more than 40 percent in December, year over year. The drop is due to cheap prices for cars in Russia following the collapse of the ruble.

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