URALSK, Western Kazakhstan Oblast, 25 June 2003 - Leading companies in Western Kazakhstan have been given the opportunity to improve project planning and management skills at a seminar organised by the Karachaganak Integrated Organisation (KIO) in conjunction with the Uralsk-based International Business Centre.

The seminar is the latest in a series of educational initiatives launched by KIO as part of its wide-ranging Kazakh vendor assistance programme.

All the companies represented at the seminar are suppliers to the Karachaganak project and among them were Ariel-Omega, Zhaikselstroi, BKKS, Aksaispetsmontazh, Batys Oil, and Uralsk Plant Zenit.

Giamil Bunkheila, KIO vendor development and qualification manager, said: "KIO's aim is to help increase the professional level of Kazakh vendors and this seminar is an important part of the comprehensive programme that has been put in place."

International Business Centre consultant Robert Bassak made a presentation on the concept of modern project management and described the stages that are critical for the successful implementation of a project.

He stressed the importance of a clearly formulated idea of the project and the need of detailed planning, formation of a project team and the efficient control of resources.

Other key areas covered included techniques for negotiations, delegation of authority and conflict resolution.

As part of the vendor assistance programme KIO has previously organised seminars throughout Kazakhstan on the subjects of commercial awareness and technical standards.

More than 500 Kazakh companies have already been awarded contracts to provide goods and services to the Karachaganak project. During 2002, two-thirds of contracts placed by KIO for new works were awarded to Kazakh companies. They had a total value of $160 million.