08ASTANA1702, KAZAKHSTAN – NEW PRESIDENT OF KAZMUNAIGAZ ON NATIONAL OIL

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA1702 2008-09-08 10:52 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO7547
OO RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHPW RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #1702/01 2521052
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 081052Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3222
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 0628
RUCNCLS/SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 001702 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EPET EINV PGOV KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN - NEW PRESIDENT OF KAZMUNAIGAZ ON NATIONAL OIL 
COMPANY'S PLANS AND PRIORITIES 
 
------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1. (SBU) New KazMunaiGas (KMG) head Kairgeldy Kabyldin outlined for 
the Ambassador his company's strategic priorities in a September 2 
meeting.  He said that despite the conflict in Georgia, Kazakhstan 
remained committed to exporting crude through the Caucasus. 
Kabyldin explained that the Kazakhstan-China oil pipeline is moving 
forward, and that Kazakhstan's new crude export duty is only having 
a limited impact on KMG.  Kabyldin's comments on CPC pipeline 
expansion are reported septel.  End Summary. 
 
-------------------------- 
KMG'S STRATEGIC PRIORITIES 
-------------------------- 
 
2.  (SBU) New KazMunaiGaz (KMG) head Kairgeldy Kabyldin told the 
Ambassador on September 2 that he believes President Nazarbayev 
selected him to replace Serik Berkitbayev because of his technical 
knowledge of the energy industry, expertise in transportation 
issues, and more than 30 years of management experience with KMG and 
with the Samruk state holding company, which is the 100 percent 
owner of KMG.  (Comment: Samruk Board of Directors Chairman Sir 
Richard Evans told the Ambassador on September 8 that with the 
appointment of Kabyldin, Samruk has completed the removal of the 
"old guard" from control of KMG, and is now in a much better 
position to move the company forward.  Samruk President Kanat 
Bozumbayev was himself just named Chairman of KMG's Board of 
Directors, and Samruk recently arranged for an independent audit of 
KMG.  End Comment.) 
 
3.  (SBU) Describing his vision for the future of KMG, Kabyldin 
emphasized the importance of MangistauMunaiGaz (MMG).  KMG has 
previously announced its intent to purchase 51 percent of MMG's 
shares, with the remainder likely to be sold to Gazpromneft or 
Mittal.  Kabyldin also stressed the need to conclude negotiations to 
restructure the management and operatorship of the Kashagan project 
by October 25.  Kabyldin noted that KMG aspires to become an 
independent or lead operator for major new fields in Kazakhstan, 
mentioning in particular the N Block, Pearls field (Zhemchuzhina), 
and Darkhan.  Regarding the N Block, Kabyldin said that 
Conoco-Philips was awarded a small contract to serve as a technical 
advisor during the initial stages of the project.  Kabyldin was also 
enthusiastic about KMG's downstream investments in Ceyhan, in 
particular, in refinery operations that will eventually be able to 
refine up to 100 million tons of crude annually.  He also said that 
KMG plans to double the number of KMG gas service stations in 
Kazakhstan to 330 by 2012, increasing its domestic market share of 
retail gasoline sales from 6 percent to 15 percent.  He eagerly 
described KMG's plans to develop petrochemical products, mentioning 
KMG's investments to upgrade a factory in Atyrau.  Kabyldin 
acknowledged that KMG will have to make significant financial and 
human capital investments in the near future to conclude these 
transactions, but he does not anticipate difficulty raising 
financing for the deals, despite Fitch's recent decision to 
downgrade the credit rating of KMG Exploration and Production to 
"BBB-." 
 
------------------------------------------ 
NO PLANS TO RETHINK MULTIPLE EXPORT ROUTES 
------------------------------------------ 
 
4. (SBU) Commenting on the impact of the conflict in Georgia, 
Kabyldin said that KMG had absolutely no plans to rethink its 
strategy to develop multiple export routes, including via the 
Kazakhstan Caspian Transportation System (KCTS) to the 
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline.  Although Kabyldin emphasized 
the importance of political stability in the Caucasus region to 
KMG's long-term investment plans, he stressed that exports to the 
West via the Caucasus route are critically important to KMG's 
multi-vector export strategy and will remain so in the future. 
Kabyldin likewise emphasized the importance of using the existing 
Baku-Supsa pipeline to accommodate current and future oil exports 
from Kazakhstan.  He said that Baku-Supsa has been underutilized for 
two years, but that KMG and the Georgian government are quite 
interested in making use of this infrastructure.  The Azerbaijanis, 
however, have not been as eager.  Kabyldin explained that oil 
shipments via the Baku-Supsa pipeline are much cheaper than 
shipments by rail (transportation via the Baku-Supsa pipeline costs 
approximately $0.30 per barrel, whereas shipments by rail cost $5.00 
per barrel).  Kabyldin noted that the current capacity of Baku-Supsa 
is 6 million tons per year, but could be expanded to 10 million tons 
per year.  As he explained it, "there is no need to build a new 
pipeline -- we should use this existing one." 
 
------------------------------ 
CHINA PIPELINES MOVING FORWARD 
------------------------------ 
 
 
ASTANA 00001702  002 OF 002 
 
 
5. (SBU) Kabyldin maintained that final agreement on the 
Prikaspiskiy gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Kazakhstan to 
Russia along the Caspian shoreline has stalled due to disagreements 
among the
 parties.  Meanwhile, work on gas and oil pipelines to 
China are moving forward, Kabyldin said.  Stroytransgaz, a 
subsidiary of Gazprom, had previously begun construction of the 
Turkmenistan section of the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan-China 
gas pipeline, while Asia Trans Gas, a joint venture of Uzbekneftegas 
and China's CNPC, started construction of the Uzbek section in June. 
 CNPC and KMG began construction of the Kazakhstan section of this 
pipeline in July.  The Chinese are also financing a Kazakhstan-China 
oil pipeline to bring crude from Atyrau to Alashankou in China's 
Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The final section -- from Keniyak 
to Kumkol -- is already under construction.  The oil pipeline is 
expected to be completed in October 2009 and to reach full capacity 
in 2011.  It remains to be seen, however, whether the Chinese will 
be willing to pay competitive market prices and whether 
Tengizchevroil will receive a better offer for its crude from the 
Chinese than from Western customs, Kabyldin contended. 
 
------------------------------- 
LIMITED IMPACT FROM EXPORT DUTY 
------------------------------- 
 
6. (SBU) Kabyldin commented that Kazakhstan's new duty on the export 
of crude and crude products is having some impact on KMG's revenues, 
but it will not have a significant impact unless oil falls below $80 
per barrel, at which point the tariff will affect credit costs, 
input costs, and other costs.  Kabyldin could not say definitively 
that the Kashagan project will be exempt from the export duty.  He 
maintained that Karachanak's existing Production Sharing Agreement 
(PSA) does have a tax stability clause, but it does not explicitly 
state that production is exempt from export duties. 
 
ORDWAY

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