Kazakh engineering capabilities, Dutch expertise support major developments in Kazakhstan

Witteveen+Bos is an engineering and consulting company based in the Netherlands whose affiliated company, Witteveen+Bos Caspian LLP, is currently serving as the main designer to complete the plans for the Caspian Transportation Route (CaTRo).

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The project plays a vital role in increasing TengizChevrOil’s operations at Tengiz oil field and CaTRo is the main infrastructure for transporting modules for the FGP-WPMP expansion project. Since the feasibility studies, design and construction activities for the CaTRo project are largely parallel, not only will the design task soon be completed, but the facility itself will soon be ready to transport and offload the first modules.

CaTRo is a unique operation of its kind in Kazakhstan. It consists of a 70-km marine access channel in the Northern Caspian basin to Prorva oil field where a cargo offloading facility and cargo storage facility will be located, together with all the road infrastructure and associated facilities. A large number of employees will be working at the CaTRo facilities during operation.

Given its unique character and its location in the Northern Caspian basin, approximately 70 Kazakh national experts of Witteveen+Bos Caspian LLP have worked together with a team of specialists from Witteveen+Bos in the Netherlands. This is to combine valuable national capabilities and experience with international knowledge and experience in providing innovative and environmentally-sound design solutions. Integrating international and national capabilities was one of the main challenges. Since Witteveen+Bos was not only responsible for the design but also permitting and approval by Kazakh regulatory authorities, it was necessary to adjust the design to Kazakh design codes and regulations while at the same time making use of the latest international insights and technologies.

“The decisions made by President [Nursultan] Nazarbayev re-affirm that Kazakhstan is a country with a favourable business climate and growing human capital. It has been worth every minute of hard work by our team of Kazakh and Dutch experts when you see that a new manmade landmark has been constructed in the Northern Caspian basin that is visible from space, just like the Dutch Afsluitdijk or the Chinese Wall. I am proud that in this way I was able to contribute to the further development of Kazakhstan,” said project manager Johan Lijftogt.

This is not the first time, though, that Witteveen+Bos has been called upon for its experience with major infrastructural developments in Kazakhstan and international engineering knowledge.

We started our activities in Kazakhstan by preparing the civil engineering design of the artificial islands of the Kashagan oil field. This other landmark project in the development of Kazakhstan has been the basis for many other projects where Witteveen+Bos was successfully able to combine international engineering experiences with local expertise for compliance with local standards and norms. Our projects were not only related to infrastructure developments, but also included engineering and design projects for industrial wastewater treatment and re-use. Especially with a further anticipated scarcity of water, efficient water use and recycling will be required for further sustainable development of Kazakhstan.


Witteveen+Bos Caspian LLP currently employs approximately 80 people, 90 percent of whom are of Kazakh nationality. The company operates from three offices in Aktau, Almaty and Atyrau. The company is prepared to expand its operations in engineering and consulting in oil and gas technology, water management and technology, infrastructure, environmental technology and sustainable energy.

The author is country manager at Witteveen+Bos Caspian LLP.

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