ASTANA – Kazakhstan’s efforts to draw foreign investors have marked the country as the “foreign investors’ haven” in Central Asia. For U.K.-based Aggreko, a supplier of temporary power generation equipment and temperature control equipment, this was one of the main reasons to enter the local market.
“Aggreko provides flexible mobile scalable power, industrial cooling and heating to a various range of customers, the key industries being utilities, oil and gas and mining, where we have extensive experience globally and quite a number of success stories in Eurasia,” said Aggreko Eurasia general manager for Central Asia Dominique Rachez in an interview with The Astana Times. “We started to operate in Kazakhstan in 2009 and later on in 2014 opened a branch in Astana. Kazakhstan is a strategic region for Central Asia operations. We have representatives in Astana, Atyrau, Tengiz, Karachaganak, Almaty and Karaganda.”
“There are two reasons for this. First, it is the enormous potential of the Kazakhstan and Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) markets. Kazakhstan has steadily been the leader in the Central Asia investment appeal rankings. The European institutions are optimistic about its investment development,” he added.
There are positive changes in the power industry, he noted.
“We are very optimistic about the implementation of smart energy and smart grid solutions and the Ministry of Energy’s plans to increase the share of renewable energy up to 3 percent by 2020 and to 10 percent by 2030. The Aggreko portfolio includes not only conventional energy sources. We are introducing a new technology to the market: hybrid solar diesel power,” he said.
The second reason is that local presence is paramount in delivering successful business in the region.
“Being present in the area means being closer to the customers, checking the pulse of their growth and responding to their changing needs in a fast and efficient manner. The professional level and the level of education of our Kazakh employees is very high, which helps us grow local expertise and gives us confidence that we are providing services of the highest standard to our customers. Our Kazakh partners and suppliers help us stay competitive in the market. We combine local presence with our global experience in order to support local communities, which is the mission of Aggreko,” said Rachez.
Establishing an office in the Kazakh capital was a logical development of the company’s operation in the country, “which we are willing to expand in terms of local content base: suppliers, employees and fleet,” he said.
The solutions which the company provides help solve power supply issues.
“Be it lack of capacity for production expansion, unreliable main power source or an isolated area with no access to a grid – our main goal is to ensure growth of our customers’ businesses by providing a reliable power infrastructure without capital expenditure. We help businesses start production early and give them the flexibility to scale the required capacity per their business requirements. Our business model is rental and therefore fleet availability is our strong advantage – we can promptly mobilise required capacity wherever the customers require it,” he said.
“The Aggreko business philosophy is ‘nomadic’ by nature. Our equipment is designed for mobility, fast commissioning and operation in harsh climates with huge temperature swings just like in Kazakhstan. It is also the way we work and think: we often rotate our personnel along with the equipment, which can spend from six months to a year in one geographic area delivering power to an oil and gas site and later on be used at an industrial plant, a mining site or an event in another geographic area, be it the Middle East, Africa, Eurasia, Latin or North America or Asia. We are used to promptly reacting to any changes and to offering mutually-beneficial, ad hoc solutions here and now,” he added.
Aggreko has found its niche in the upcoming EXPO 2017, which starts June 9.
“Aggreko is one of the sponsors of the U.K. pavilion at Astana EXPO 2017. We are very excited that this year the key topic of EXPO is future energy. We will present new ways of making better use of natural resources with our flare for power solutions, new generation gas engines, heavy fuel oil (HFO) based generators, combined wind-diesel technology and solar-diesel hybrids, as well as bridging power, grid balancing for regions like South Kazakhstan and industrial cooling and heating solutions,” said Rachez.
He highlighted Kazakhstan’s importance for doing business in the region.
“Kazakhstan is a great place to do business. It has an incredible potential for Aggreko and we can offer solutions beneficial to the local communities and businesses,” he said.