New Flights, Energy, Agriculture: President Tokayev Meets Top Italian Businesses

ASTANA – Air travel, oil and gas sector, petrochemicals and agriculture were on top of the agenda during President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s meetings with Italian senior executives in Rome on Jan. 18, reported the Akorda press service. 

President Tokayev at the meetings with Italian senior executives in Rome on Jan. 18. Photo credit: Akorda.

Discussing air travel with Neos President  Lupo Rattazzi, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev noted that direct air travel between the countries facilitates the development of trade, economic, cultural, humanitarian ties, and tourism. 

The Italian company launched direct flights between Almaty and Milan in May 2023. Kazakhstan is among 70 destinations where Neos flies. Established in 2001, the company is a joint venture between Italian Alpitour and German TUI Group. 

Tokayev stressed the high demand, with approximately 70,000 passengers transported since its launch.

Lupo Rattazzi shared plans to expand flight geography in the region and increase the number of flights between Almaty and Milan. Launching the flights connecting the Kazakh capital Astana to Rome and Milan is also on the agenda. 

Prospects in oil and gas

The same day, Tokayev also met with Guido Brusco, Eni’s chief operating officer for natural resources. The meeting covered the outcome of Kazakhstan’s cooperation with Eni over the past year and future plans. 

Eni has been involved in exploration and production projects in the country’s giant Karachaganak and Kashagan oil fields in western Kazakhstan. 

In Karachaganak, the company holds a 29.25% stake, along with state-owned KazMunayGas (10%), Royal Dutch Shell (29.25%), Chevron (18%) and Lukoil (13.5%).

As part of the consortium responsible for the North Caspian Sea Production Sharing Agreement (NCSPSA) in Kashagan, Eni owns 16.81% along with KazMunayGas (16.88%), Shell (16.81%), ExxonMobil (16.81%), TotalEnergies (16.81%), CNPC (8.33%) and Inpex (7.56%).

In 2023, the total oil production volume from the Kashagan and Karachaganak fields reached 30.8 million tons, said Tokayev. According to him, achieving such results became possible through the joint efforts of the government of Kazakhstan and all consortium members, including Eni.

It is also present in the renewable energy sector, with two Badamsha wind farms in the Aktobe Region. 

Brusco told Tokayev about the company’s plans to build a gas processing plant, a 250-megawatt hybrid power station in the Mangystau Region, and the production of vegetable oil for further processing into biodiesel.

Energy transition

President Tokayev also met with Alessandro Bernini, a chief executive officer at Maire Tecnimont, an Italian engineering and construction company that operates in the energy field, particularly in the oil and gas sector. 

Maire Tecnimont is known for its expertise in executing projects related to decarbonization, energy transition, and the development of green technologies. 

Tokayev highlighted the company’s extensive experience in implementing decarbonization and energy transition projects, as well as its widespread presence in 45 countries.

Tokayev stressed that Kazakhstan is interested in Maire Tecnimont’s ambitious plans aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions and developing green technologies. This interest stems from the commitment Kazakhstan has undertaken under the Paris Agreement, including achieving carbon neutrality by 2060.

The Italian company signed a contract in April 2023 for the basic design of the polymerization unit in the second phase of the construction of the petrochemical complex in the Atyrau Region.

As part of Tokayev’s visit, Maire and Samruk Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund signed a MoU to reinforce the cooperation in the energy transition. Specifically, the sides will form a working group to assess business and investment prospects. 

The technical team will investigate economic collaborations to encourage and streamline investments within Kazakhstan, focusing on areas such as decarbonization, energy transition, and projects in oil, gas, chemicals, petrochemicals, and fertilizers.

Bernini noted the document “represents the combined efforts and commitment of Italy and Kazakhstan to work together to pave the way to investment opportunities in the relevant industries of cooperation.”

“Our group is also pleased to contribute to the training of new skills and professions as one of the enabling factors of the energy transition,” he said. 


President Tokayev met with CEO Federico Vecchioni to discuss the prospects of implementing investment projects in Kazakhstan’s agricultural sector.

Bonifiche Ferraresi is an Italian agricultural holding engaged in the cultivation and marketing of agricultural products, including rice, corn, hard and soft wheat, barley, sugar beet, alfalfa, sunflower, soybeans, garden plants and fruits.

Tokayev emphasized that Kazakhstan is a leading producer of wheat and is one of the main wheat suppliers to Italy. He noted Kazakhstan’s plans to increase the share of grain processing within the country.

Federico Vecchioni shared the company’s plans to implement projects to cultivate cereal crops using Italian technologies and further deep processing in Kazakhstan, as well as for training specialists and technology transfer.

Tokayev said Kazakhstan is ready to provide comprehensive support. He invited the company to explore opportunities for joint projects in the development of intensive horticulture and seed breeding.

President Tokayev arrived in Rome for an official visit on the evening of Jan. 17. 

On Jan. 18, he met with the President of Italy Sergio Mattarella. Later in the day, he met with the Italian President of the Council of Ministers Giorgia Meloni.

Tokayev also participated in the Kazakh-Italian roundtable, which saw the signing of agreements worth $1.5 billion.

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