Samruk-Kazyna head: Construction of Yeskene-Kuryk pipeline important for Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan, Astana, Feb. 8 / Trend K. Konyrova /

Trend interviews Managing Director and Samruk-Kazyna National Welfare Fund member of the board, and Kazakh-French Business Council Co-Chairman Aydan Karibjanov.

Trend : What is the task of today's second meeting of the Kazakh-French Business Council on Cooperation?

Karibjanov: In 2009, during French President Nicolas Sarkozy's Astana visit, the sides signed an agreement worth over 5 billion euro, and I hope that at today's meeting we were able to discuss many issues important for both parties. I hope most of the signed agreements will turn into real projects related to the diversification of the Kazakh economy, and will allow us to cooperate with our partners such as France, which ranks fourth in Kazakhstan's foreign trade turnover.

Q: Earlier the energy minister said unresolved issues still remain regarding the financing of the Yeskene-Kuryk pipeline, in which the French company Spiecapag should take part. What can you say about this?

A: This is a fairly complicated project, which is associated with the project financing. It is necessary to raise tariff and the volume of oil and resolve the issue with the oil terminal in Kuryk to completely settle the question of finances. Employees of the Energy Ministry, the Kashagan consortium and KMG are working on all those issues.

I think the pipeline will be ready by the time the oil is produced from the Kashagan field. Construction of the Yeskene-Kuryk pipeline to production of first oil from Kashagan field is important for Kazakhstan.

Q.: During the meeting with the government, the Kazakh president sharply criticized the existence of tax preferences for a number of oil companies. Today, representatives of the companies raised questions with the French side about the stability of tax and investment policies in Kazakhstan, and in particular, it dealt with Kashagan, which will operate under the terms of the PSA +...

A.: I think that any negotiations between the international companies dealing with extraction of natural resources, and the country, which is the owner of these natural resources is always a process that will run continuously. In future, everything will depend on oil prices, transportation corridors, the demand in the world, which pipelines will be constructed, and which of them will work.

The work of the consortium is important for Kazakhstan, because "Kashagan" is the most important project in the coming years, maybe decades. And it is important for us, and the international companies, as it is one of those few in number projects. And I think that, in the end, the parties will reach the agreement.

Q.: Has the French side raised the issue of facilitating the issuance of visas for skilled employees now when it dealt with the transfer of knowledge and technology?

A.: Everyone understands that migration policy in Kazakhstan must be changed. The employees capable to change something in our economy should be involved in our economy without competing with our compatriots and having corresponding qualification. At the same time one should not welcome the arrival of unskilled employees or those with high qualifications, whose salaries are very high.

As to visas, we can also pretend to certain relief from France and other countries of the Schengen area for our students and businessmen, civil servants and tourists. This is a two-way street. It is important that this issue was raised today, the rest -  in its elaboration.

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