The Astana Times. The 6th version of the Kazenergy Eurasian Forum in Astana on October 4 and 5 promises to be one of the best.
American television-interviewing legend Larry King will co-host one of the sessions. Another participant will be Rudy Guiliani, who as mayor of New York City gained international fame for his courageous leadership during the 9/11 crisis.
The European Union energy commissioner, Günther Oettinger, also will attend, as will Prime Minister Karim Massimov, who as Kazakhstan’s second-highest leader plays a major role in the country’s energy policy.
Still another forum participant will be the head of the Japan Energy Association, Teruaki Masumoto. His appearance as a representative of an organization whose members generate most of their electricity from nuclear power will be timely, given the earthquake- and tsunami-generated disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
A key topic on the first day of the forum will be the Kazakhstan energy growth. In addition to focusing on the current situation and the past, it will cover promising energy areas of the future. The discussion will include how international companies and Kazakhstan can cooperate in developing those new forms of energy.
In addition to opportunities, participants will have a chance to discuss problems, particularly the difficulties that companies have encountered in developing oil and gas in the Caspian Sea.
Other problems that will be touched on include how prices for oil, gas and other sources of energy are formulated, energy contracts between Kazakhstan and international companies, and international investments in Kazakhstan’s largest petroleum fields – Tengiz, Karachaganak and Kashagan.
Considerable time also will be devoted to innovative energy technology.
The national energy companies that are in the portfolio of the Samruk-Kazyna sovereign wealth fund, including the KazMunaiGas petroleum company, have said repeatedly that innovation is one of their priorities.
That emphasis is in line with President Nazarbayev’s call for innovation throughout industry.
Kazakh energy executives hope the forum will generate ideas they can use to innovate.
Years of hard work have led to substantial progress “in the petroleum and energy industries of our country,” said Timur Kulibayev, the head of Samruk-Kazyna and the Kazenergy Association, which is sponsoring the conference.
Kazakhstan has become “a leading player in the global energy market and has engaged in dialogue on an equal footing with global industry leaders,” Kulibayev said.
“National companies have successfully implemented a number of major pipeline and energy-transit projects in the past few years,” he said. These have included pipelines to China and ramped-up shipments of oil across the Caspian Sea by ship.
One reason for the surge in the petroleum industry’s output in Kazakhstan, he said, is innovation. The country has been keen to “take advantage of the latest technology.”
Those bringing the technology to Kazakhstan, he noted, include American, European, Japanese and other Asian countries’ firms.
A considerable part of the second day of the forum will be devoted to nuclear energy.
The discussion will include what lessons the world has learned from the tragedy at the Fukushima nuclear power station, and what precautions should be taken as a result.
Although rich in oil and gas, Kazakhstan has said it is committed to nuclear energy development. It sees the nuclear option as part of a comprehensive energy mix over the long term.
The second day of the forum also will deal with energy-technology solutions to protecting the environment. Those sessions will include companies discussing steps they have taken to ensure a cleaner planet.
One reason that participants and journalists like to attend Kazenergy Euraian Forums is that heated debate can arise.
For example, in 2009, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder spoke bluntly about the problem of Europe obtaining gas from the former Soviet Union. His talk came against the backdrop of a dispute between Russia and Ukraine over gas prices that resulted in Russia cutting off gas supplies to much of Western Europe during the winter.
Fans of Larry King, the longtime CNN “interview king,” will be glad to see him at the forum. He and Kulibayev will co-host a session on “Energy Geopolitics of Eurasia, Challenges and New Horizons.”
Giuliani, whose international law firm Giuliani Partners has a presence in Kazakhstan, also will be a much anticipated speaker. His firm consistently sends its clients updates on Kazakhstan’s oil and gas law changes, so presumably part of his address will cover that issue.
Development of the Caspian Sea’s oil and gas has become a point of contention between the international oil consortiums involved in the development and the government of Kazakhstan – and this will be discussed at the forum. At issue is both the delay and the rising cost of output at the Kashagan field, where commercial production is expected to begin next year.
Experts who will be addressing this issue at the forum include Randall Gossen, president of the World Petroleum Council; John Roberts of the authoritative energy magazine Platts; Daniel Stein, senior adviser to the U.S. State Department’s Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy; and Kairgeldy Kabyldin, president of KazMunaiGas.
In its two decades of independence, Kazakhstan’s oil and gas success has hinged largely on its ability to attract foreign investment, so this year’s forum topics will include investment. Euronews journalist Niall O’Reilly will moderate the session.
Executives of some of the world’s top petroleum companies will discuss problems and opportunities in Kazakhstan, including technical challenges at the Kashagan field, conducting oil operations in extreme cold and new growth opportunities for liquids production at the Karachaganak field.
Participants in the section on nuclear energy are to include Masumoto; Randall Beatty of the International Atomic Energy Agency’ and Vladimir Shkolnik, president of Kazakhstan’s national nuclear energy company KazAtomProm. Kazakhstan is the world leader in uranium production, which is one of the key reasons it is interested in developing its own nuclear-energy industry.
By Galiaskar Seitzhan