Kazakhstan Invites Petronas To Invest in Oil & Gas Sector

Kazakhstan has invited Petronas to invest in its potentially vast oil and gas sector. Newly appointed Kazakhstan Ambassador to Malaysia Ikram Adyrbekov said he would do his best to get the national petroleum corporation establish its presence in his Central Asian country. He said Kazakhstan had its own national oil company, Kazmunaygas, similar to Petronas and this provided an opportunity for possible tie-ups. "I know there have been some contacts and I would like to see some beneficial results," he said.

He said most of the oilfields were situated in the western part of the country, notably in the regions of Atyrau -- dubbed the oil capital of Kazakhstan -- Aktau and the Caspian Sea which had enormous oil reserves. "Recently, a big oil field was discovered at Kashagan (in the north Caspian Sea)," said Adyrbekov, formerly based in Lithuania. He had covered Latvia and Estonia as well. Most of the foreign investors in the Kazakhstan oil sector were American oil companies. "It's good if other countries invest in the sector because it is our intention to establish economic and trade relations with many countries," he said.

Oil production including gas condensate increased from 25.8 million metric tons in 1990 to 40 million metric tons (800,000 barrels per day) in 2001. More than US$13 billion has been invested in the sector by foreigners since the country's independence in 1991. "I can tell you that the oil reserves in Kazakhstan are about 20 billion barrels and 700 million tons of gas condensate," said Adyrbekov. The republic spans 3,000 kilometers from its European border with Russia near the Caspian Sea to its Asian flank on the Chinese border. Despite its enormous size, the country, which is developing its new capital in Astana, has only about 15 million people.

"We are aware that Malaysia is a strong investor ... Kazakhstan welcomes all kinds of foreign investors in its emerging economy and invites Malaysia to participate in this process," he added.