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10/06/08

News Bulletin No 27


POLITICS
Rice: US Not Trying to Undermine Russia in Kazakhstan
Rice says Kazakhstan reliable US partner in Central Asia
Zatlers: state visit to Kazakhstan was successful
Kazakhstan's election body reports no violations in Senate poll

ECONOMY
Kazakh banks shrug off renewed investor worries
Chevron Achieves Full Production from Tengiz Expansion Projects
Provost embarks on Kazakhstan trade mission
Iran oil show kicks off in Kazakhstan

OTHER NEWS
Pusan shines spotlight on Kazakh filmmakers
 

Category: General
Posted by: admin

 
Kazakhstan
News Bulletin
Released by the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United States of America

 

No 27 October 6, 2008

POLITICS

• Rice: US Not Trying to Undermine Russia in Kazakhstan
• Rice says Kazakhstan reliable US partner in Central Asia
• Zatlers: state visit to Kazakhstan was successful
• Kazakhstan's election body reports no violations in Senate poll

ECONOMY

• Kazakh banks shrug off renewed investor worries
• Chevron Achieves Full Production from Tengiz Expansion Projects
• Provost embarks on Kazakhstan trade mission
• Iran oil show kicks off in Kazakhstan

OTHER NEWS

• Pusan shines spotlight on Kazakh filmmakers

POLITICS

Rice: US Not Trying to Undermine Russia in Kazakhstan

Voice of America

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says U.S. efforts to build closer ties with Kazakhstan are not meant to undermine Russia's influence in Central Asia.

Addressing reporters Sunday in the former Soviet republic, Rice said there is not a contest between Moscow and Washington for the oil-rich nation's friendship.

Also at the news conference, Kazakh Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin said his country has good relations with both Russia and the United States.

Rice met with Tazhin for talks on security and energy cooperation.  She is also due to meet with President Nursultan Nazarbayev to discuss security, political and economic reforms in the country.

President Nazarbayev has maintained close links to Moscow, while also allowing major U.S. corporations a substantial role in Kazakhstan's burgeoning oil and gas industry.

Secretary Rice's arrival in Kazakhstan follows her trip to India where she had been set to sign a landmark nuclear trade agreement. 

However, the signing of the pact was delayed.  Rice told reporters administrative - not substantive - details had to be resolved before the pact ending a 34-year ban on civilian nuclear trade with India can be signed. 

U.S. lawmakers have already approved the agreement.  Rice called the pact a "done deal," saying U.S. President George Bush would sign the agreement into law very soon.

The deal allows Washington to share civilian nuclear technology and materials with New Delhi if India opens some nuclear facilities to inspection. 


Rice says Kazakhstan reliable US partner in Central Asia

Xinhua, China

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Monday that Kazakhstan is the most reliable cooperation partner of the United States in Central Asia, according to a news release by the Kazakh Foreign Ministry on Tuesday.

Rice made the remarks at a meeting with visiting Kazakh Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin on Monday in New York. Their talks focused on the issues of security and cooperation in Central Asia.

Emphasizing Kazakhstan is a geographically significant country in Asia, Rice spoke highly of the country's reforms in the political, social and economic fields, and expressed support for Kazakhstan to hold the rotating presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2010.

Tazhin said Kazakhstan will continue to assist the war-stricken Afghanistan in its reconstruction, and briefed Rice on the Kazakh government's related plans.

Both sides agreed that in order to fully resume Afghanistan's economic and social order, it is necessary to engage the country in the process of the Asian integration.


Zatlers: state visit to Kazakhstan was successful

The Baltic Course

President of Latvia Valdis Zatlers regards his state visit to Kazakhstan as successful and believes that the goals set for the visit were attained, the President's Press Office informed BC.

"The global economy situation presses us to look for innovative business solutions and new markets. In my opinion, now, after the visit and the business forum, which we opened jointly with the president of Kazakhstan, our entrepreneurs will be able to do successful business in this country. Kazakhstan is a land of opportunities, and in the future it will depend only on entrepreneurs themselves, whether and how they use these opportunities," the president said in conclusion of the visit.

Zatlers also underlined that, besides the successful dialog on economic matters, talks with the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev on the future political dialog between the two countries were successful and constructive.

"Europe must find a way to further develop relations with the region of Central Asia, which is becoming one of the key players in the energy market," the president believes. He points out that the presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2010 has been entrusted to Kazakhstan, which proves that this country is developing in the right direction, it understands and promotes the OSCE fundamental principles and values. Latvia, in turn, can provide advice to its European partners on how to better reach the set economic and political cooperation targets, the president said.

During the state visit, Zatlers had meetings with the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazakh Parliament Speaker Arslan Musin and Prime Minister Karim Massimov. On his state visit to Kazakhstan, Zatlers was accompanied by a large business delegation that included 87 entrepreneurs representing various industries. Two Latvian ministers –Transport Minister Ainars Slesers (Latvia's First Party/Latvia's Way) and Economy Minister Kaspars Gerhards (For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK) also accompanied Zatlers on his visit to Kazakhstan.

Zatlers visit to Kazakhstan concluded yesterday in Almaty, where the president and First Lady Lilita Zatlere visited the city's remarkable cultural and historic monuments, the orthodox cathedral and the mosque, as well as the Medeo outdoor ice-skating rink.

Kazakhstan's election body reports no violations in Senate poll
 
RIA Novosti

No violation has so far been registered in the senate polls underway in Kazakhstan, the country's top election authority said Saturday.

As of 13:00 local time (07:00 GMT), the voter turnout for elections to the country's 39-seat upper house of parliament stood at 97.7%, according to the Kazakh Central Election Commission.

Half of the senate members are elected every three years, with a senator's mandate valid for six years. Thirty-seven candidates are running for 16 seats this year. Seven senators are appointed by the republic's president.

Preliminary reports said 202 observers were involved in the polls, including 50 foreign monitors.


ECONOMY

Kazakh banks shrug off renewed investor worries

Reuters

Kazakh banks, congratulating themselves for overcoming the latest bout of market turmoil and gloomy analyst forecasts, are shrugging off a record slump in their debt prices.

Central Asia's largest economy became one of the first victims of a global credit crunch last year when the central bank pumped billions of dollars into the system and ratings agencies came out with a spate of downgrades.

But as global markets pushed through another week of volatility, Kazakh bankers appeared confident at an annual industry conference, mocking analysts for their pessimistic views and poking fun at Western credit rating agencies.

"I think the worst is behind us," Roman Solodchenko, the Chief Executive of Kazakhstan's largest bank BTA BTAS.KZ, told reporters at this week's conference. "We've learnt our lesson."

The 2007 squeeze triggered a severe domestic credit crunch that put an end to the economy's annual average growth of 10 percent between 2000 and 2006. Gross domestic product growth is now officially forecast at 5.3 percent this year.

But banks have been able to repay their debts and most have remained profitable, although some have reported shrinking assets and raised loan loss provisions.

"We are in better shape now than a year ago, we have become stronger," said BTA Chief Financial Officer Khalil Kamalov.

But the broader market does not share the banks' optimism. Spreads on credit default swaps for Kazakh banks' debt widened by about 50 basis points on Thursday, meaning the cost of insurance against default has reached record highs.

"With this distressed debt fund, maybe the banking sector is not as healthy as people anticipated," said Paul Timmons, an analyst at Commerzbank, referring to the $6 billion distressed loan buyout plan announced by the government on Wednesday.

EUPHORIA WARNING

Kazakh bankers said the latest CDS movements reflected general market sentiment and not their financial state.

"I think we have been less volatile (in past weeks) than our respected U.S. colleagues," said Magzhan Auezov, managing director at No.2 bank Kazkommerts (KKGByq.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

The government appears to believe the bottom has been hit. "Despite what some analysts predict, we have managed to navigate through all the reefs," Prime Minister Karim Masimov told the conference.

Kazakh bankers would not comment on the state loan buyout plans, focusing instead on regulation, which they think could be relaxed to free up more money held in reserves.

But, echoing the government's resolve to play a key role in steering the economy, Yelena Bakhmutova, head of the state financial watchdog, said her agency would do everything to avoid a repeat of what she described as the pre-crisis "euphoria" on Kazakh markets.

"We plan to tighten (regulations) gradually." she said.

BTA's Solodchenko responded ironically: "If banks (like Lehman Brothers) had been overseen by the Kazakh regulators, there would have been no such failures." (additional reporting by Carolyn Cohn in London; Editing by David Cowell)


Chevron Achieves Full Production from Tengiz Expansion Projects

New State-of-the-Art Facilities Significantly Increase Production from the Supergiant Field

CVX today announced that its affiliate Tengizchevroil LLP has completed a major expansion at the Tengiz Field in Kazakhstan that will nearly double production capacity at one of the world's largest oil fields.

The completion of the expansion brings Tengizchevroil's daily crude production capacity to 540,000 barrels. The first phase of expansion, accomplished earlier this year, increased daily capacity from approximately 310,000 barrels to 400,000 barrels.

"This accomplishment demonstrates how Chevron is leading the industry in the selection and execution of major capital projects while providing increased value for our host countries and partners," said George Kirkland, executive vice president, Chevron Global Upstream and Gas. "As world energy demand continues to grow, the multi-billion dollar expansion of the Tengiz field brings much-needed new oil to market."

The Sour Gas Injection (SGI) operations and the crude processing portion of the Second Generation Plant (SGP) have been successfully in service for several months while the natural gas and sulfur processing portions of SGP were being completed and commissioned. SGP's full facilities now stabilize and sweeten crude oil, as well as separate and process natural gas into gas products and elemental sulfur. SGI reinjects one-third of produced sour gas into the reservoir at very high pressures to help preserve reservoir pressure.

"The success of this expansion is a testament to Chevron's long-term, successful partnership with the Republic of Kazakhstan. Chevron is committed to continuing our investment in the people, economy and energy infrastructure of Kazakhstan," said Guy Hollingsworth, president of Chevron Europe, Eurasia and Middle East Exploration and Production. "The scale of this project is incredible. SGP is the largest single-train sour gas and crude processing unit in the world, and SGI is now returning sour gas to the reservoir at the highest concentrations of hydrogen sulfide and highest pressures ever accomplished."

Chevron has a 50 percent interest in Tengizchevroil. Other partners are KazMunaiGas, 20 percent; ExxonMobil Kazakhstan Ventures Inc., 25 percent; and LUKArco, 5 percent.
Chevron Corporation is one of the world's leading integrated energy companies, with subsidiaries that conduct business across the globe. The company's success is driven by the ingenuity and commitment of approximately 59,000 employees who operate across the energy spectrum. Chevron explores for, produces and transports crude oil and natural gas; refines, markets and distributes transportation fuels and other energy products; manufactures and sells petrochemical products; generates power and produces geothermal energy; provides energy efficiency solutions; and develops and commercializes the energy resources of the future, including biofuels and other renewables. Chevron is based in San Ramon, Calif. More information about Chevron is available at www.chevron.com.

Cautionary Statement Relevant to Forward-Looking Information for the Purpose of "Safe Harbor" Provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995

Some of the items discussed in this press release are forward-looking statements about Chevron's activities in Kazakhstan. Words such as "anticipates," "expects," "projects," "intends," "plans," "targets," "projects," "believes," "seeks," "estimates" and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. The statements are based upon management's current expectations, estimates and projections; are not guarantees of future performance; and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond the company's control and are difficult to predict. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Unless legally required, Chevron undertakes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

SOURCE: Chevron Corporation
Chevron Corporation
Margaret Cooper, +832-854-6239 (Houston)
Kurt Glaubitz, +925-842-2561 (San Ramon)

 

Provost embarks on Kazakhstan trade mission

Aberdeen’s standing as a leading energy city will be reinforced by Lord Provost Peter Stephen when he attends the Kazakhstan International Oil & Gas Conference, KIOGE 2008.

The Lord Provost and Belinda Miller, the council’s head of service economic and environmental sustainability, are embarking on a trade mission to the central Asian country this weekend.

Kazakhstan is an important market for Aberdeen’s oil and gas related businesses and there is a number of companies attending KIOGE this year – some are exhibiting on the Energy Industries Council stand, while others are on a trade mission with Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce.

The conference, which has helped introduce more than 5,000 companies to Kazakhstan’s oil and gas industry in its 15 year history, will be attended by government agencies, embassies, trade delegations, oil and gas companies, equipment manufacturers, and public and private investors.

The Lord Provost will be giving a speech during KIOGE 2008, when he will talk about the similarities and relationships between Scotland and Kazakhstan. Aberdeen has been developing a relationship with Kazakhstan since 1995 and over recent years has become the gateway to Kazakhstan for Scotland.

The dedicated consulate for Kazakhstan is based in the Granite City, and the new Kazakhstan ambassador to the UK, Kairat Abusseitov made Aberdeen the first visit of his term in office.

A new consul for the country, Dudar Zhakenov, is now in place at the Consulate for Kazakhstan in Aberdeen.

As well as attending KIOGE 2008, the Lord Provost will meet with his counterpart Salimzhan Nakpayev, Akim (mayor) of Atyrau, to encourage the city to join the World Energy Cities Partnership and to attend the organisation’s AGM in Aberdeen in November.

The Lord Provost and Mrs Miller will also meet with other dignitaries during their time in Kazakhstan and visit businesses and the Kazakh British Technical University.

The Lord Provost said: “This will be my first visit to Kazakhstan and I am delighted to be visiting a country which has such close links with Aberdeen.

“In Aberdeen, much like Kazakhstan, although there is a heavy involvement with the energy industries, there are also a number of traditional and emerging non-energy related industries which contribute to our healthy economy such as fishing, agriculture, food and drink, life sciences and, of course, tourism.

“Due to all these similarities between our countries, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed in December 2001 between Aberdeen and three regions of Kazakhstan – West Kazakhstan, Mangistau and Atyrau – to encourage business and tourism relationships between Scotland and Kazakhstan.

“Through the MOUs we have strengthened our relationship by hosting a large number of delegations from Kazakhstan over the years and I am confident that this trip will further strengthen that relationship.”

If you have any queries regarding this, or any other news story, please contact Aberdeen City Council on: +44 1224 522000.

Iran oil show kicks off in Kazakhstan

Tehran Times

Iran’s first exclusive oil industry exhibition kicked off in Kazakhstan’s port city of Aktau on Saturday.

Iran’s Ambassador to Kazakhstan Ramin Mehmanparast, the Deputy Oil Minister Mohammad Nematzadeh, and Kazakh ambassador to Tehran Yerik Utembayev in separate speeches elaborated on ways for the expansion of bilateral trade particularly in the oil sector.

According to IRIB, 70 Iranian companies involved in the oil industry showcase their achievements during the two-day event.

“Holding talks with Kazakh officials on the establishment of a pipeline to transfer Kazakhstan oil via Iran is on the agenda,” said Nematzadeh.


OTHER NEWS

Pusan shines spotlight on Kazakh filmmakers

Associated Press

One of Asia's leading movie festivals opened Thursday with Kazakh director's Rustem Abdrashev's "The Gift to Stalin," a touching story about a young Jewish boy exiled to Kazakhstan as part of the forced migrations of ethnic minorities during Soviet rule in 1949.

Another film from Kazakhstan, "Turmoil," is competing in the festival's New Currents competition.

Organizers announced earlier that the Asian Filmmaker of the Year award will go to Kazakh producer Gulnara Sarsenova.

Kazakh cinema has a strong tradition from the country's Soviet-ruled days but is little-known globally, festival director Kim Dong-ho said at a press conference for "The Gift to Stalin."

"If you look closely, there are quality films being produced, but it is an area that has yet to be shown to the world," Kim said through a translator. "Our objective is to discover new films and introduce new films to the mass public."

Kim said the Pusan festival's programmers discovered "The Gift to Stalin" when it was still being made and visited the set.

While the film's portrayal of Soviet rule is critical, pitting reckless local and Soviet authorities against a tight-knit group of exiles living in a small Kazakh village, Abdrashev was diplomatic when asked about the period, saying Soviet rule wasn't entirely bad.

"It was tough. It was difficult. But that is what made us who we are today," Abdrashev said through a translator.

He said the movie will screen in three Russian cities — in addition to Kazakhstan.

The elderly Nurzhuman Ikhtimbayev, one of Kazakhstan's top actors, said he witnessed the forced migration of ethnic minorities to a town near his hometown, including ethnic Koreans, Chechens and Germans.

Abdrashev said Kazakhstan's ethnic diversity is one of its strengths — and his film sounds a decidedly positive note about racial harmony.

In the movie, the Jewish boy is tended to by a Polish doctor and briefly raised by a bald and bulky Muslim railway worker portrayed by Ikhtimbayev.

 

News Bulletin of the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Contact person: Zhanbolat Ussenov
Tel.: 202-232-5488 ext 104; Fax: 202-232-5845
E-mail: zhan@kazakhembus.com