Oil and gas Publication Date 10-10-2020

Eleusinov Marat Kairbekovich

Director of Oil and Gas Production Department of JSC NC "KazMunayGas"

- Marat Kairbekovich  it is no secret that today many oil companies not only in Kazakhstan, but all over the world, invest seriously in education and training, as well as in digitalization. Today, such concepts as human resource flows, release of human resources have become fashionable, there are many shocking assessments that the robot will replace the human, etc. In this regard, the first question will have a general character. Tell us, please, what, in your opinion, three most significant trends and/or technologies can fundamentally change the image of the entire oil and gas industry in Kazakhstan?

- If we talk about the oil and gas industry, the most important indicators so far - the indicators of oil and gas production - were usually provided by dispatchers, who every 2 hours recorded the indicators, recorded them on paper and sent them to e-mail. Of course, in the age of digitalization and automation, all these directions will be rethought and redistributed, will be solved by some analytical, digital application, which will automatically receive all these data, record, accumulate in the database and, accordingly, transfer to all necessary authorities, perhaps, to our cell phones, tablets, etc.

- It turns out that one of the trends you mentioned is Big Data, which permeates all industries. The second question is exactly related to it. What, in your opinion, are the first professions that exist in the oil and gas industry today, which will be transformed in the next 10-15 years?

- I have just noted that we have dispatchers who collect information, synchronize it, form and complete it for further analysis and research. This is, first of all, the daily work, which will be excluded, and these professions will be redistributed. They will deal with the analysis and quality of that data.

- With the development of Big Data in the industry, will there be professions related to manual data collection and processing, and accordingly new professions will appear? What names would you give these new professions?

- For the time being, we believe that these will be centers of analytics. First of all, they will be responsible for the quality of these data.

- Marat Kairbekovich,  You represent the direction of production in the industry, could you name 2-3 main challenges that are hindering the development of the industry as a whole today?

- As I noted earlier, the oil and gas industry at all our operating assets has a history of more than 100 years. These fields are already at a late stage of development and their life continuation requires large capital and operational investments. Naturally, for the last 8-10 years the world oil prices have significantly decreased, which affects the development of our companies.

The first challenge is the oil price factor. The second challenge is to have competent specialists. A good program has been adopted in our country - Bolashak program, within the framework of which many good qualified specialists have been trained. But, as you understand, these specialists need to be retained, because there is great competition in the world for them. A student who has graduated in the United States or Europe tends to work for global companies, thus creating shortages in our companies. This is the question of how to retain these specialists, which requires special attention, we must stop the outflow of specialists abroad.

- Tell us, if we take the oil and gas industry as a whole, where the most qualified personnel work, which can be retained, where it is easier to create conditions and where there is an acute shortage of personnel? Is it possible that they are attracted from abroad, which in its turn leads to the growth of operational expenses?

- As you know, there are large projects in our country, which are implemented jointly with world leaders of oil and gas industry, such as Shell. We take into account the significance and scale of these projects, the main highly qualified specialists are concentrated there, and these are such companies as Tengizchevroil, our world famous project Kashagan, Karachaganak Petroleum. These companies try to attract the most qualified employees with international experience. Nevertheless, Kazmunaigas faces the task of attracting similar specialists at our operational assets, such as Uzen, Kalamkas, Zhetibai fields, which are famous for their ancient history.

Not to mention that at our old fields there are specialists with good experience, who mainly have knowledge accumulated at the expense of work experience in these very fields. That is why there is a difference between those who are involved in large projects and our operational assets, where local specialists work mainly.

- If I understand correctly, expats are involved in workplaces with high level of technological equipment, in industries where the technological level is less developed, local specialists are involved. How, in your opinion, can this trend be reversed, i.e. so that we could completely do with local personnel and not have to attract expats? What measures are being taken in the company?

- As I noted earlier, it will be necessary to try to retain those specialists who receive qualified education abroad.

All in all, I will say that measures are taken. For example, already in joint assets we have experience of about 30 years of cooperation, during this period a lot of good local specialists have grown, who in principle can replace expats. But, nevertheless, there are certain narrow specialties that require special orientation and advanced training for point specialists, then we could replace expats.

- How realistic do you think measures are taken to train these personnel in narrow areas in Kazakhstan?

- Speaking in particular about Kazmunaigas, in this case we, in Kazmunaigas Engineering, which is a design institute of our company, have formed centers of competence for advanced training, and we plan to choose the most worthy and high-quality specialists, which we could train abroad thanks to our partners.

Certainly, certain conditions are set that this specialist should study and return to Kazakhstan, work in our companies. In addition, since last year we have adopted a good practice of staff rotation, i.e. the personnel who work in our large projects, in our operational projects are rotated in order to improve the quality of employees and to be able to apply them on more significant positions.

- You gave very good food for thought. And there will also be a question that sums up our conversation. Let's imagine that your company has a large amount of free money and is able to solve some of the problems or challenges that you have identified. What problem would you solve first?

- Still, I believe that frames are the first, no technology and new trends will replace them if we don't prepare frames. We have a good example, like Nazarbayev University, where international specialists are really attracted, where our children can get decent education. It seems to me that if I had money, I would contribute to increasing the number of such universities, which will allow more people to get a quality education, and this should be concentrated not only in the capital or in major cities of our country, but also in the regions. It is necessary that every resident will be able to get access to such education, because, as practice shows, there are a lot of worthy and strong guys who study well, are well prepared mentally and psychologically, but they do not have the opportunity to study, because educational places are limited.