Speaking in the course of the Open Dialogue («Открытый диалог») television program, Minister of Information and Social Development Dauren Abayev presented the main results recorded so far in the implementation of the objectives laid down in the Kazakh President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev’s first state-of-the-nation address.
«The state-of-the-nation address was delivered just a month ago, yet much has been accomplished. And much more is to be done. The thing you’ve got to understand is that the state-of-the-nation address is a program document which focuses on the long-term perspective. In order to implement it, a national plan which includes 81 points has been developed and adopted. These are specific measures, the result of which will, I am sure, positively contribute to improving the general welfare and well-being of the people of Kazakhstan», he noted.
The minister cited as an example the Saryarka gas pipeline project.
«In the concrete context, the President, for instance, set out to fulfill one of Nursultan Nazarbayev’s Five Social Initiatives. This implies completing the full gasification of the country. Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev has instructed the Government to speed up the rate of the Saryarka gas pipeline construction. And for the time being, the following can be said. According to the Ministry of Energy, the average pace of (pipe) welding is 6 km per day. The construction of the pipeline is already being completed. There are of course many other things concerning equipment starting-up and adjustment which should yet to be done. But it is planned to complete these works in December», Dauren Abayev said.
In the aforementioned instance, Minister of Information and Social Development referred to the progress of the construction work on a 1,081-km natural gas pipeline between western Kazakhstan and central and northern regions of the country currently remaining without gas.
Just two years ago, there was little doubt that it would take a long time to launch such a project. On August 21 2017, Kazakhstani Energy Minister Kanat Bozumbayev said: «KazTransGas, a national gas transmission system operator, has carried out a feasibility study on the project. It has undergone the state expertise… Estimated capacity of the pipeline would be 3 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year, with the total project cost coming in at upwards of 260 billion tenge». According to him, then the problem of financing the construction of gas pipeline lied in the fact that JSC NC KazMunaiGas did not have the opportunity to attract additional credit resources.
In the beginning of 2012, President Nursultan Nazarbayev, giving an annual state of the nation address, instructed the Government as follows: «It is necessary to complete the project design and begin construction of a gas processing plant with the capacity of 5 billion cubic meters a year on the Karachaganak field. I instruct the Government to plan and launch a pipeline system that will provide gas supply in the central region of the country, including its capital. It is capital intensive and important work. We have to do it to get rid of dependence on natural gas. Kazakhstan is a country producing oil and gas. We are obliged to gasify our country, no matter how much it costs us».
In August 2017 (that is to say – more than five years on), it looked like such a policy decision at the highest level had not yielded the intended result. And at that time, it was not yet known when that gas pipeline project would/could be implemented. As of now it is a different matter.
The 820-mm OD Saryarka pipeline should have initial capacity of about 1 billion cu m/year of gas. It extends northward from the Karaozek gas compression station on the existing Beineu-Bozoi-Shymkent transmission line in the Kyzylorda oblast and transits the territory of several Kazakh regions. The Saryarka gas pipeline project is being implemented under the instruction of the First President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. The goal is to transport gas to Kazakhstan’s capital as well as to central and northern regions as well as increasing the energy security of the country. The project is considered as a part of Kazakhstan’s attempts to decarbonize its energy mix.