Ray Richardson, vice president operations and regional direction, Kazakhstan provides an update on the activities of the in-country team.
The journey really began in 2004 when, on the back of the discovery of the world scale Kashagan oil field in the Atyrau region of Kazakhstan (estimated nine billion barrels of oil) the business secured a major piece of work on the experimental phase of the field development for which the initial scope of work was the engineering and procurement of two trains each of the oil, gas and sulphur treatment plants followed shortly after by additional scope of a further oil train and gas treatment enhancements; construction management services are also being provided.
Kashagan, as the catalyst for our deepening presence in Kazakhstan, has enabled us to establish strong relationships with the project’s main consortia partners (AGIP, Shell, Total, Exxon-Mobil, KMG, Inpex and ConocoPhillips) whilst growing our in-country team at the same time.
The next substantial projects to follow Kashagan were associated with the Karachaganak gas field in the West Kazakhstan region where we executed a FEED study for the Karachaganak Phase III field development as well as performing the full FEED and EPC elements of the related fourth stabilisation and gas sweetening train project. Our customer on this project was also a consortia of IOC partners in BG, ENI, Chevron and Lukoil.
The Karachaganak fourth train project was recently commissioned and successfully started up to the delight of our customer with the introduction of sour hydrocarbons on 25 May 2011.
Today we have around 300 people in-country servicing our operational requirements, business development and community affairs activities.
Relationships at many levels are all important in Kazakhstan, particularly so when our customers comprise such an extensive range of Kazakh and IOC customers. Since being in this role I have found the relationships aspect of our business very encouraging and have experienced a clear willingness to engage contractors such as ourselves in open and honest dialogue as a dual learning experience.
By having a strong presence ‘on the ground’ and focusing on developing our in-country business relationships we have been able to identify and support business opportunities for all parts of the business. Currently, as well as developing Onshore Engineering & Construction opportunities, we are also supporting business development activity across the range of our service offerings from our Engineering & Consulting Services, Offshore Projects & Operations (operations, mechanical Services, plant asset management), and Training Services businesses.
Equally, in respect of community relations we have established a strong presence in support of local development where we embrace a range of activities from local community projects, emergency aid, education, training and sporting related events. Examples of such support have taken the form of providing computers and vocational training to local schools and employment organisations in Uralsk as well as providing recent flood relief assistance.
Kazakhstan team celebrating the introduction of sour hydrocarbons to the Karachaganak fourth stabilisation and sweetening train.
Additionally we currently have some 25 Kazakh nationals either employed on our other international projects or undergoing training in Sharjah.
Given current oil production levels are forecast to rise in line with a steep growth curve, this will make Kazkahstan one of the world’s top oil producing countries by the end of the decade so, as far as the future is concerned, we remain optimistic and committed to a long term presence in the country and further expanding the proportion and skills of the Kazakh nationals we employ.