29.04.2005
FATHER AND SON

Novoye Pokoleniye

By Andrey GUBENKO

This is a true story, where the facts and nuances could replace drama and pathos of the most talented artistic fantasy. The story is about a father and son. It is about the way in which history repeats itself. In 1973, a father defended his candidate dissertation in geology and oil and gas exploration in Leningrad. 32 years later on April 14 2005 in London, his son received a diploma that is tantamount to the recognition his father received. The father is Kazakh Geologist, Sukhan Kamalov, who discovered the Karachaganak field in 1979, as the then head of the state enterprise, Karachaganak GasProm. The son is Nurzhan Kamalov, the Corporate Affairs & HSE (health, safety, environment) Controller at KPO, and the only Kazakh who achieved a high position in this large international project.

I am certain that ever since the time of its construction in the XII century, the Ash ridge castle has never had so many Kazakh nationals inside. The Kazakh delegation included those KPO employees who received diplomas from the modular training programme and a group of journalists who arrived for this solemn event. The Kazakh employees participated in the educational programme as organized by the BG Group (a KPO operator) for the first time.

The castle was formerly a monastery. It is now the property of the British government. The world’s largest companies rent the castle for a week or two for conducting seminars and similar events. BG invited its graduates of the educational programme here in addition to BG employees from different countries, where it also has projects. For Kazakhs, the main hero was naturally the Corporate Affairs & HSE Controller, Nurzhan Kamalov, the first and the only Kazakh employee who received a diploma of the highest fifth degree. For those who don’t know what this means we will explain. In international business it represents a green light for obtaining any top management position, up to that of president in a transnational company. National Press Club President, Seitkazy Matayev presented traditional chapan clothes to BG President, Frank Chapman. BG management also invited Kazakh journalists to dinner, where the BG Vice President for Asia, David Roberts said that Karachaganak is the pearl among Asian projects of the company, and they are willing to spend money and time for the education of such people like Nurzhan Kamalov. The parties exchanged compliments.

Incidentally, the educational programme lasts for 2 years and costs thousands of dollars per person.

Sukhan Kamalov made other discoveries. When he was the main geologist of the Ministry of Geology of the Kazakh Soviet Republic and planned geological and exploration work in the country, the Uzen and Zhetybay fields were discovered at Mangyshlak. Another large field, the Zhanazhol was also discovered with his immediate participation as the main geologist in the Aktyubinsk expedition. In any case, the first thing we associate his name with is Karachaganak. He described the prospects for finding oil in the northern part of Caspian cavity. In 1976 he initiated the exploration work at the Karachaganak area. In 1979, oil was found, and Karachaganak became known as one of the world’s largest oil, condensate, and gas fields, the gas reserves are over one trillion cubic meters. Full-scale operation at Karachaganak began only recently. What the father started, the son continued. The son and his father are people of their own times. This is why they preferred to receive their education in different places, the father in Russia and son in London.

The education programme is a formal condition in our country under agreements with the foreign companies. It is a necessary part of the personnel nationalisation programme in these companies producing oil in Kazakhstan. David Roberts said that such education programme is in the interest of the company.

Sukhan Kamalov discovered Karachaganak, his son Nurzhan Kamalov works there and became the first national top manager of an international company. Kamalov senior had received recognition in 1989 when he defended his doctoral dissertation, on the basis of which the Kazakhstani underground map was created with the oil and gas fields. Kamalov junior does not deny that a Kazakh could become a president of a foreign company, but not in the current decade.