Kazakhstan contains significant quantities of gas and oil in particular. Kazakhstan sits near the northeast portion of the Caspian Sea and claims most of the Sea’s biggest known oil fields. Kazakhstan’s combined onshore and offshore proven hydrocarbon reserves have been estimated between 9 and 17.6 billion barrels (comparable to OPEC members Algeria on the low end and Qatar on the high end).
The Ministry of oil and gas, the Ministry of coal and power and the Ministry of geology were replaced by a Ministry of energy and natural resources. The latter following a presidential decree (10/10/1997) was absorbed into the now operating Ministry of Energy, Industry and Trade. As far as energy is concerned this ministry is directly responsible for oil and electricity.
KKazMunaiGaz (formerly Kazakhoil) is the major player in the country’s oil sector. Kazakhoil was set up in March 1997 following abolishment of the Munaigas state – owned company and its 34 subsidiaries responsible, until then, both for oil and gas. The functions of KazMunaiGaz are implemented either directly or through its participation to other companies. In most of those companies, 18 in number, KazMunaiGaz is the major shareholder with employees and/or private investors holding minority stakes.
Kaztransoil is the product of two major transportation associations brought together, again during the 1997 sector restructuring. Kaztransoil, thus, controls about 6300 kms of pipelines for crude oil and another 1100 kms for oil products. Its assets also include oil storage facilities, pumping stations, collection points, rail loading stations and loading piers for Caspian vessels.