07ASTANA2315, KAZAKHSTAN ECONOMIC AND ENERGY UPDATE, JULY 29 – AUGUST

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07ASTANA2315 2007-08-26 09:27 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO0201
RR RUEHDBU RUEHLN RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #2315/01 2380927
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 260927Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0467
INFO RUCPCIM/CIMS NTDB WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 0244
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 2090
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0346
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0471
RUEHAST/USOFFICE ALMATY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 ASTANA 002315 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR SCA/CEN (O'MARA) 
DEPT PASS TO OPIC - BALLINGER 
DEPT PASS TO TDA FOR STEIN, EXIM FOR GLAZER 
DEPT PASS TO AID - EE-PHILLIPS/RUSHING 
TREASURY FOR OASIA/VELTRI 
USDOC FOR 4231/ITA/MAC/MLONDON, 4201/BISNIS 
USDOC FOR 6110/ITA/TD/BI/RHALPERN 
ANKARA FOR CFC 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON EIND ENRG EPET EFIN KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN ECONOMIC AND ENERGY UPDATE, JULY 29 - AUGUST 
24, 2007 
 
ASTANA 00002315  001.2 OF 003 
 
 
1.  Summary: This information is drawn primarily from the 
Kazakhstani local press, and has not been checked for accuracy.  The 
opinions and policies expressed in this report are those of the 
authors, not the U.S. Government. 
 
-- Inflation in July and Tenge Depreciation 
-- Legalization Campaign is Over 
-- Economic Statistics 
-- Eni Officially Announces Kashagan Delay 
-- KazMunayGas to Explore "Nursultan" Field Independently 
-- KazMunayGas Appoints Two Additional Vice-Presidents 
-- ExxonMobil Kazakhstan Offices Move to Astana and Atyrau 
-- Oil & Gas Statistics in January-June 2007 
Inflation in July and Tenge Depreciation 
---------------------------------------- 
 
2.  According to the Statistics Agency, July inflation was 0.9%, 
one-tenth higher than a month ago.  July-on-July inflation was 8.8%. 
 In contrast to June, prices for non-food products showed the most 
significant growth of 1.4%; prices of food products grew by 0.8%, 
and prices for services by 0.6%.  Panorama newspaper commented that 
the 12.7% growth in prices for construction materials and the 6% 
increase in prices for fuel played a key role in July inflation. 
 
3.  The tenge broke its appreciation streak against the dollar in 
July.  Since July 24, when the tenge closed against the dollar at 
122.0 KZT / $1, the currency has steadily weakened to 125.1 KZT / $1 
on August 23.  According to Delovaya Nedelia newspaper, the tenge's 
depreciation could be explained mainly by the increased outflow of 
currency from the country due to: the increased cost of external 
debt servicing, the increase in repatriated corporate profits, and 
the growth in imports of goods and services.  (Delovaya Nedelia 
newspaper, August 3) 
 
4.  In order to minimize the impact of rising inflation in recent 
months, the National Bank of Kazakhstan (NBK) plans to raise its 
rates.  According to Anvar Saidenov, Chairman of the National Bank, 
the refinancing rate might be raised in October  to 9.5% (Note: The 
NBK's current refinancing rate is 9%.  End Note.); rates on the 
National Bank's notes would be increased by 0.5 to 1%.  In addition, 
the NBK intends to increase minimal reserve requirements for 
second-tier banks starting August 29.  This last measure will help 
to withdraw 72 billion tenge (approx. $580.6 million) from 
circulation, said Saidenov.  (Interfax - Kazakhstan, August 7, and 
Izvestiya newspaper, August 9) 
 
Legalization Campaign is Over 
----------------------------- 
 
5.  Russian newspaper "Kommersant" called amnesty of property and 
capital in Kazakhstan the most successful such campaign in the 
world.  In the span of the (approximately year-long) program, the 
Kazakhstani government legalized property and capital totaling about 
6.7 billion USD, roughly equivalent to 1/3 of the government's 
budgetary expenditures, or 8.7% of the GDP.  (Kommersant newspaper, 
August 6) 
 
Economic Statistics 
------------------- 
 
6.  From January to June of 2007 Kazakhstan's gross domestic product 
(GDP) grew by 10.2% in real terms on an annualized basis, Vice 
Minister of Economy and Budget Planning Saparbayev reported to the 
Government on August 7. 
 
7.  In addition, Saparbayev said that the first half of the year was 
marked by a significant growth of imports over exports: imports rose 
by 48.8%, while exports rose by only 25.8%.  Total foreign trade 
amounted to $36.6 billion: imports were $14.8 billion and exports 
$21.8 billion.  Aggregate trade  grew by 34.2% during January-June 
2007, compared to the same period in 2006.  (Interfax - Kazakhstan, 
August 7) 
 
8.  According to the National Bank, as of July 31, 2007, 
Kazakhstan's international reserves were $41.5 billion (at current 
 
ASTANA 00002315  002.2 OF 003 
 
 
exchange rates), including $18.1 billion accumulated in the National 
(Oil) Fund.  (Press-Service of the National Bank, August 2) 
 
Eni Officially Announces Kashagan Delay 
--------------------------------------- 
 
9.  Eni, the operator of the North Caspian project, officially 
notified Kazakhstan's Energy Ministry that the start of commercial 
production at the project's Kashagan field would likely be delayed 
until the second half of 2010.  According to Energy Minister 
Izmukhambetov, since the Ministry is looking into new expenditures 
associated
with the project, it is not time yet to talk about 
compensation to be paid by Agip KCO for the delay.  "The delay was 
due to additional work required to ensure that the people living in 
the vicinity of Kashagan, the employees and the environment are 
safe," the Minister stated.  "On August 6 we are planning to embark 
on a month-long negotiation on the project.  Once consensus is 
reached, project parameters will be set," Izmukhambetov said. 
 
10.  The Government of Kazakhstan might review the contract with 
Eni, Prime Minister Masimov stated at a GOK meeting on July 30.  "I 
urge you to treat this issue seriously.  I am warning the company 
through the mass media that we view the change in the timeframe for 
the Kashagan project as a change in the contract itself.  Our 
response will match the company's actions," the Prime Minister said. 
 Agip KCO is owned by Eni, Total, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch/Shell 
which have 18.52% each, ConocoPhillips with a 9.26% share, and Inpex 
and KazMunayGas, which have a 8.33% share each.  (Interfax - 
Kazakhstan, July 30) 
 
KazMunayGas to Explore "Nursultan" Field Independently 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
11.  Kazakhstan's national oil and gas company KazMunayGas will 
explore the Nursultan field (Block "N" in the Kazakhstani sector of 
the Caspian Sea) on its own, Energy Minister Izmukhambetov said in 
his interview with "Express-K" newspaper on July 28.  According to 
Izmukhambetov, "This is a promising project based on location and 
expected reserves.  If we confirm expectations, only then will we 
consider whether to invite other companies to participate in the 
project."  Earlier estimates put the geological resources of Block 
"N" at 637 million tons of equivalent fuel.  ("Express-K", July 28) 
 
KazMunayGas Appoints Two Additional Vice-Presidents 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
12.  KazMunayGas (KMG) has created two new posts of vice-president 
with the purpose of improving organizational structure.  Mr. Ulan 
Baizhanov, who worked as KMG Chief of Staff, has been appointed 
Vice-President/Chief of Staff.  Mr. Kaireldy Kabyldin, who worked as 
KMG Managing Director for Transport Infrastructure and Service 
Projects, has been appointed Vice-President for Oil and Gas 
Transportation, Service Projects, Oil Refining and Petrochemicals. 
(KMG Press-Service, July 27) 
 
ExxonMobil Kazakhstan Offices Move to Astana and Atyrau 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
 
13.  ExxonMobil Kazakhstan has moved its main office from Almaty to 
Atyrau to be closer to the operational management of the Tengiz and 
Kashagan projects in the Caspian region, the company said in a press 
release on July 16.  ExxonMobil's Department of Government Relations 
and Public Affairs has moved to Astana.  The company resumed its 
work in new locations on July 10.  (Interfax - Kazakhstan, July 30) 
 
Oil & Gas Statistics in January-June 2007 
----------------------------------------- 
 
14.  According to the National Statistics Agency, from January to 
June 2007, Kazakhstan produced 27.1 million tons of crude oil, down 
5.2% from the same period in 2006.  During the first six months of 
2007 Kazakhstan produced 14.7 billion cubic meters of natural gas, 
26.4% more than in the first half of 2006.  Oil refining in 
January-June amounted to 6.0 million tons, a 9% increase compared to 
the same period in 2006.  (Interfax - Kazakhstan, July 30) 
 
ASTANA 00002315  003.2 OF 003 
 
 
 
ORDWAY

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