Protesters Set Kazmunaigas Building On Fire; Output Unaffected

MOSCOW (Dow Jones Newswires), Dec. 21, 2011

Protesters in the Caspian oil town of Zhanaozen, western Kazakhstan, looted and set on fire an administrative building belonging to state oil producer Kazmunaigas EP JSC, but no damage was caused to the nearby oil production facilities, the company said Wednesday.

Kazakhstan has declared a state of emergency in Zhanaozen after clashes between laid-off oil workers and security forces during an anti-government protest Dec. 16 left at least 14 people dead.

Kazakhstan exported 1.5 million barrels of oil a day in 2010. London-listed Kazmunaigas said the situation at its main unit, the Uzen field near Zhanaozen, is stable.

"Average daily production rate is maintained approximately at the level of previous days, but somewhat below the planned level due do a number of power cuts in the field in December," Kazmunaigas said in a statement.

During the disturbances, much of the equipment and documentation at Kazmunaigas' headquarters in Zhanaozen was destroyed, while a temporary headquarters has been set up to provide operational guidance for the site, the company said.

A three-month strike this summer at Kazmunaigas EP's Uzen field, related to a call for higher wages and stronger union, reduced output. The strike ended after nearly 2,000 workers were fired.

"The number of oil field workers returning to work is reaching normal levels as the police are establishing control and the situation continues to stabilize," Kazmunaigas said.

Despite the protests, the company said it expects to meet its 2011 production plan of 12.3 million metric tons.

Copyright (c) 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


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