Competition heats up for Kazakhstan oil and gas assets

The Kazakhstan government is set to reap almost five times the combined starting price of the five blocks offered in its latest internet auction for oil and gas assets, with strong competition from local players offering a total of 911 million tenge ($1.9 million).

According to the Ministry of Energy, and to the surprise of local observers, the highest bid in the online bidding round that ended on 20 October was almost 367 million tenge, and was placed for the Ongar East oilfield in the Atyrau region.

The ministry said earlier that Ongar East had the lowest starting price of 10 million tenge, as the 21 square kilometre block requires additional exploration to confirm reserves.

Little information is available on Ongar East’s new licence holder, although domestic social network Energy Monitor identified the winner as locally registered Neogen Energy Development, owned by Kazakh businesswoman Saule Karatayeva.

Another local player, Almaty Global Trade, has committed to pay the second-largest payment of 360 million tenge for a relative small asset, the 123 square kilometre Bozoba West block in the Aktyubinsk region, according to the ministry.

Almaty Global Trade is owned by two Kazakh nationals, according to the country’s company register.


Bozoba West is widely expected to be rich in natural gas, but this has to be confirmed through additional exploration.

Energy Monitor said the winner of the North Pridorozhnoye field, Sherkala Petroleum, was apparently incorporated just before the bidding deadline, as there was no corporate registration information for the company.

The ministry is scheduled to hold another online tender for prospective oil and gas acreage on 20 December, with the aim of finding new owners for four fields with confirmed oil reserves.

The list includes 14 prospective blocks, varying from 500 square kilometres to 5000 square kilometres, in onshore provinces with existing oil and gas activity, including Mangistau, Atyrau and Aktobe.

Some assets in similar internet auctions over the past three years have reportedly been offered by local players to specialist oil and gas investors in the West, because large international corporations have been unwilling to commit to long-term hydrocarbon exploration projects in Kazakhstan as they build renewable energy portfolios.