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Kazakhstan in world news: December-march 2007

Prepared by company Kazakhstan Newsline

General News

Flooding displaces 1,000 in the South
IRIN and Spero News (February 15, 2007)

Flooding in southern Kazakhstan has forced hundreds to flee after the Syrdarya River burst its banks in several places. There have been no casualties, but houses along the riverbank are flooded, the Ministry of Emergencies (MOE) reported yesterday…..”The flooding began on the 9th of February when a dam 3km from Kyzylorda city burst, flooding 14.5 hectares of land and 45 homes,” Dikhanbek Satylganov, director of the MOE’s Civil Defense Department told IRIN…..A total of 52 people were evacuated, some of whom have since returned after reinforcement work was carried out…..Overnight on 10-11 February the river burst its banks near the Kyzylorda hydro-engineering complex, flooding more houses and leading to the evacuation of 900 people…..Another 70 houses were flooded on 12 February near the village of Aynakol…..The MOE is fighting to contain an ice jam in the river, which caused flooding along the banks south of Kyzylorda…..The evacuated are being temporarily housed in a school in Kyzylorda by the emergencies ministry…..Flooding along the Syrdarya is a regular problem as the winter snow thaws, river ice dislodges and water levels rise.

Oil and Gas

Baker Hughes’ shares drop Despite Record-Breaking Quarter
Washington Business Journal and Petroleum Intelligence Weekly (February 16, 2007)

Shares of Baker Hughes Inc. dipped on Thursday after the company reported record-breaking, fourth-quarter earnings that fell below analysts’ expectations..…The Houston-based Baker Hughes, an oilfield services company, reported net income of $326 million, or $1.02 per share, on revenue of $2.45 billion for the three months ended December 31st, as compared with $258 million, or 75 cents per share, on revenue of $1.98 billion one year earlier…..Results in the quarter included several special items, such as a $46 million pre-tax charge -- 12 cents per share after taxes - related to settlements from Securities and Exchange Commission investigations into the company’s operations in Kazakhstan and Nigeria. That settlement was partially offset by a $21 million reduction in cost of revenue due to an accounting change…..Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were expecting profits of $1.12 a share…

Oil and Gas Exports increase by 32.5%
Middle East Times (March 15, 2007)

Kazakhstan’s oil and gas exports grew by 32.5% year-on-year to 5.052 million tons in January 2007, while exporting only 3.812 million tons during the same period last year, the government’s state statistics agency said…..Exports totaled $2.8 billion, as compared with $1.412 billion in January 2006…..Although Kazakhstan exports most of its oil via Russia, it is looking to set up alternative routes…..Kazakhstan holds the largest oil deposits in the Caspian by producing 1.3 million barrels per day, compared with its other littoral neighbors - Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan. By 2015, Astana expects daily oil output to reach 2.6 million barrels…

Kazakhstan considering Georgian Oil Refinery Turkish Daily News and Oil
of Russia (March 11, 2007)

President Nursultan Nazarbayev has said that Kazakhstan is considering building an oil refinery in Georgia’s Black Sea port of Batumi, Kazinform reported…..Nazarbayev’s announcement, after a meeting with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili in Astana, appeared to underline Kazakhstan’s commitment to ship oil through a US-backed pipeline running from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey…..The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which opened in May 2005, allows the West to tap oil from rich Caspian Sea fields estimated to hold the world’s third-largest reserves, bypassing Russia and Iran…..”The Caucasian corridor that provides an outlet to Europe (and) the Mediterranean Sea is becoming important for us,” Nazarbayev said. “Georgia is our active partner in that area.”….Nazarbayev added that KazMunayGas was in a process of buying the controlling stake in the Batumi port, considered a possible transit points for transporting oil from Kazakhstan’s giant Tengiz oil field near the Caspian with the planned increase in production there in the next several years...

Finance and Investment

Petrolinvest files IPO Prospectus
(March 6, 2007)

The Polish oil company - Petrolinvest has filed a initial public offering (IPO) prospectus and plans a stock issue during the first half of this year, a source told Interfax Central Europe on Monday….”The company has filed its prospectus,” a source working on the offer said…Held by Polish tycoon, Ryszard Krauze’s firm - Prokom Investment, Petrolinvest declined to comment on its IPO plans. Krauze indicated in earlier press interviews that Petrolinvest wants to debut on the Warsaw Stock Exchange by the end of June 2007, while it carries out oil exploration drilling in Kazakhstan….Petrolinvest first entered the limelight in August 2006, when Krauze announced that the company had acquired stakes in four Kazakhstani companies with access to oil fields, along with rights for their development….Prokom announced in late November that Petrolinvest had gained the necessary authorization to begin drilling in Kazakhstan. The Kazakhstani administration said in December that they had approved two deals to sell some of the country’s oil assets to Polish companies, because KazMunayGas has shown no interest in them….The company plans to begin trial drilling on all four of the oil fields in spring 2007, followed by production at two fields. According to earlier announcements by Prokom, further investments in oil production in Kazakhstan would cost Petrolinvest approximately US $800 million….Krauze controls Petrolinvest through his investment vehicle, Prokom Investments, which also holds majority stakes in listed Prokom Software.

Communications and Transportion

i-Teco comes to Kazakhstan OSP International Russia
(February 15, 2007)

Russian systems integrator I-Teco has opened a rep office in Kazakhstan. The new division, located in Astana, is aimed at informing customers about i-Teco products and services, selling them in the Kazakhstani market, applying experience in operations in Russia to Kazakhstan, etc…..The office is headed by Kazi Kamisbaev, who formerly worked in local IT companies. Kamisbaev is now responsible for managing the rep office operation, defining business processes, interacting with corporate customers and vendors, expanding the project portfolio, selling i-Teco products and services in the Kazakhstan market…..When opening the Kazakhstan office i-Teco set up a special position - a regional CIS manager. It has been given to Andrei Ibragimov, former i-Teco electronic workflow system development manager.

Kazakhstan developing Europe to Asia Railway Reconstruction Plan
People’s Daily Online (March 7, 2007)

Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Transport stated on March 5th that it plans to further develop a section of a railway linking Europe and Asia….The No. 2 Eurasia Transport Corridor was built by member states of the Organization for Railways Collaboration (OSJD). It crosses Kazakhstan for a total of 1,900 km, or nearly 19% of its total length. The railway crosses Russia, Kazakhstan China, and Vietnam, and provides cargo shipments between China and Russia. …In recent years, freight service between Europe and Asia, particularly the container transportation has been on the increase, but Kazakhstan’s current railway technology and management has been unable to afford the new development….Kazakhstan plans to introduce advanced technology, and beef up the construction of railway infrastructure and border stations.

Trade News

Kazakhstan interested in Russian Military Hardware
Finmarket (February 20, 2007)

During a working trip to Moscow, Minister of Defense, Daniyal Akhmetov stated that Kazakhstan would make certain changes into its military doctrine related to personnel training, the modernization of equipment and the deployment of advanced technology…..This was Akhmetov’s first visit to Russia since becoming the defense minister. Since then, Anatoli Serdyukov has been replaced by Sergei Ivanov as Russian defense minister….The parties involved held a discussion on the two countries’ (8 year) treaty for long military cooperation, as part of which, Kazakhstan will buy military equipment and machinery from Russia for its armed forces. The final draft of the treat is scheduled for introduction in April 2007…..Daniyal Akhmetov stated, “Today, we have final contracts, which implies that all new equipment will be supplied to Kazakhstan from the Russian Federation, in compliance with a program to be fulfilled in a short period time, to strengthen our country’s defense capacity and security. Kazakhstan is a peaceful country, and our military doctrine has a purely defensive nature.”

Enterprise Ireland plans Kazakhstan Visit
Ireland.com. (February 21, 2007)

Irish firms will travel on a business trip to Kazakhstan….Enterprise Ireland is organizing a trade mission to Kazakhstan, and four companies have already signed up….The Enterprise Ireland office in Moscow is now organizing a five-day visit which will mainly focus on Almaty….Kazakhstan’s economy is growing steadily since 1991 due to rich oil and gas resources. Other Enterprise Ireland trade missions planned for 2007 include Latvia, Croatia, Slovakia, Egypt, Jordan and Latvia. a

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