AKSAI, Western Kazakhstan Oblast, 26 April 2003 - A new practical training area, developed at the Aksai training centre operated by the Karachaganak Integrated Organisation (KIO) will ensure that personnel, who will be working in the field, are trained to the highest internationally recognised safety standards.

The new facility, which has been modelled on the successful training centre that was built in Aberdeen (Scotland) to support the oil and gas activities in the North Sea, is offering courses and practical training in important areas such as scaffolding erection, rope access, overhead works, forklift truck driving, vessel inspection, the use of breathing apparatus, first aid treatment and many others.

The majority of the people being trained at the centre are Kazakh nationals and most of the KIO safety instructors at the centre are also Kazakhs who have undergone a special training. For a number of courses, top level instructors from leading international oil and gas training organisations such as McGregor Energy Services and North Sea Lifting are being brought to the Aksai facility to pass on their specialist knowledge.

KIO training centre manager Dave Foster said: "These new facilities mean that we now have a first class centre that is able to meet virtually all of our training needs in a controlled and safe environment.

"We have invested more than $400,000 in building and equipping the practical area and up to 500 KIO employees and contractors will be trained there every month".

Some of the first people to use the new facilities are local members of the state fire brigade who provide services in the Karachaganak field. They are currently being trained in emergency response techniques.

KIO has placed a high priority on training and during the last three years the company has spent more than $25 million on professional facilities and courses for its Kazakh workforce.

In some cases, where specialised training has been necessary, KIO personnel have attended courses overseas and so far more than 160 Kazakh nationals have been trained at centres in the UK, Italy and USA.