Gulf Finance House Plans $10B Energy City In Kazakhstan

LONDON, April 9, 2008 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Gulf Finance House, a Bahrain-based Islamic investment bank, plans to invest $10 billion over the next three to five years to establish an oil and gas services and technology hub in the Kazakh city of Aktau on the coast of the Caspian Sea, a statement on the Web site of the president of Kazakhstan said Wednesday.

"It is planned to establish a large center for training technical personnel and hiring staff for oil companies, which will include science and technology parks, laboratories of geophysical data, centers of information technologies, centers for studying environment and renewable energy sources," the statement said.

Kazakhstan has large hydrocarbon reserves, including Kashagan, was the largest oil field discovered for 30 years when it was found in 2000, but whose development has been beset by delays and cost overruns. The Kazakh government aims to double oil production and triple natural gas production by 2015.

Gulf Finance House is also backing the construction of other energy and technology hubs in Qatar, India, China and Libya.

A large part of the cost inflation suffered by energy projects across the world is due to a shortage of skilled personnel such as engineers and geologists. Many major oil companies are expanding their training and recruitment programs to address the problem.

LONDON, April 9, 2008 (Dow Jones Newswires)