Business News in Brief

The Caspian lowland may contain 60 billion tonnes of hydrocarbon reserves, Kazakh Minister of Energy Vladimir Shkolnik told the Mazhilis (lower chamber) of Parliament on June 1, the Xinhua news agency reports. The estimate is based on studies carried out by leading experts, he said. The Kazakh-Russian Eurasia exploration project has already begun and is generating interest from oil and gas companies around the world, Shkolnik said. The project will be implemented from 2015–2020 and is estimated to cost $500 million. A consortium has been formed to find potential investors for the project, he said. The project will use innovative technologies for subsoil and super-deep wells drilling to a depth of 15 kilometres. Eighty percent of Kazakhstan’s hydrocarbon reserves are located in the Caspian lowlands.


Romania and Kazakhstan want to develop joint projects in energy, tourism, transport, agriculture, research and education, the Romania Insider reports. State Secretary at the Economy Ministry of Romania Bogdan Pandelic and Vice Minister of Energy of Kazakhstan Magzum Mirzagaliyev met in Bucharest for the 11th session of the Romanian-Kazakh Intergovernmental Commission for Economic and Scientific Cooperation. Romanian exports to Kazakhstan grew by 60 percent in 2014, to $84.3 million. Kazakhstan’s exports grew by more than 29 percent, to more than $3 billion, but are mostly crude oil for the Rompetrol group, which is owned by KazMunayGas.


Kazakhstan plans to produce the AI-92 and AI-95 gasoline brands of K5 environmental class, corresponding to the Euro-5 standard by late 2015, Azer News reports. The announcement comes from Kazakhstan’s Development Bank. The new gasoline will be produced in West Kazakhstan at the public-private Condensate company in Aksai, which will be modernised and upgraded in order to produce the new forms of fuel. Condensate also plans to produce virgin gas oil fractions, vacuum gas oil and tar, according to Azer News. The project will cost about $200 million, with 60 percent of the funding to be supplied by Kazakhstan’s Development Bank over a six-year period, and is intended to reduce fuel shortages in the country and eliminate the dependence of the region on imported fuel. The loan agreement was signed on June 2.


Kazakhstan is seeking around $3 billion in loans from China to build two new plants to increase copper and aluminium output, according to the Business Recorder, citing an interview by Kazakh Deputy Investment and Development Minister Albert Rau with Reuters. Kazakhstan’s KAZ Minerals, one of the world’s major copper producers, announced in March that it would team up with China’s Baiyin Nonferrous Metal Group to build a new smelter, which is expected to produce 300,000 tonnes of cathode copper a year and to cost $1 billion. Kazakhstan produced 294,000 tonnes of copper last year. KAZ Minerals and its Chinese partner are expected to complete forming their joint venture by the end of the first half of this year, Rau said. “The construction of the plant will take a minimum of three years,” he added. “Building this new copper plant in Kazakhstan to process ore from the Aktogai and Bozshakol deposits is a priority project (with China),” Rau said, according to Business Recorder.


The next Foreign Investor’s Council of Kazakhstan will be dedicated to the establishment of Astana’s proposed financial centre. President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan suggested focusing on the soon-to-be-opened financial centre in the next session, and noted that the new international financial centre is going to use infrastructure created for the EXPO 2017. Before the announcement, the President had instructed the government to use the experience of Dubai in establishing the new financial centre. At the Astana Economic Forum last month, Nazarbayev said the new centre in the Kazakh capital would be independent, follow English law and use English as the language of business conduct.


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