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Kazakhstan - Timur Kulibayev.

An ambitious and greedy ex-chairman KMG Holding, a position he had since June 2006, Kulibayev is married to Nazarbayev's second daughter Dinara. Until his promotion, he used to be KMG's first VP. In his 40s, he began his career in the finance ministry's division once in charge of the petroleum sector. In March 1997, as Nazarbayev made Balgimbayev president of KazakhOil, the latter made Kulibayev the financial boss and VP of the company. The oil and gas firms then were transferred from the finance ministry to KazakhOil. Now Kulibayev is a billionaire and runs his own group of businesses.

Nazarbayev's children and their spouses have held prominent positions in Kazakhstan's heavily inter-twined public and private sectors. Kulibayev and his wife, Dinara, indirectly control the majority in the country's big bank, Halyk Bank. Nazarbayev's eldest daughter, Darigha, heads the pro-presidential Asar, is a member of parliament, and wields much influence in the state's media.

It was on June 27, 2006, that KMG announced the promotion of Kulibayev as head of KMG and chairman of its board of directors. This was decreed by his father-in-law. On paper, the 45-year-old Kulibayev appears groomed for a top position. He worked in executive and other senior posts in the petroleum industry before and after a three-year stint (2002-05) as the company's first VP. But his marriage to the president's daughter is more important than his employment history.

Now that he is out of favour where the president is concerned, it is not clear whether Kulibayev remain head of the Kazakhstan Association of Oil & Gas and Energy Sector Organisations (KazEnergy). This is the main lobby for the foreign companies operating in the country's petroleum sector and energy business.

Bolatkhan Taizhan, a political analyst and a former Kazakh ambassador to Malaysia, has said that President Nazarbayev has stood to gain the most from Kulibayev's promotion. In June 2006 he was quoted as saying: "[Long-time presidential supporter] Kairat Kelimbetov's appointment to the State Development Fund - Samruk Kazyna (SK), and appointment of [Nazarbayev's] second son-in-law, Kulibayev as head of KMG - all this looks like Nazarbayev's attempt to base his powers not [only] on [his first daughter] Dariga. This means Nazarbayev's family is gaining [more] power But now - and I have to repeat this - the appointment of his [second] son-in-law to that position means direct control of the [petroleum] sector for Nazarbayev". SK owns the biggest banks in Kazakhstan.

Oraz Zhandosov, a former Kazakh trade, industry, and economy minister who is now leader of the opposition Naghyz Ak Zhol party, in June 2006 claimed Kulibayev's appointment was a continuation of presidential politics at the expense of sound government, adding: "It happened long ago and it continues. [Kulibayev's appointment] is a conflict of interest". Zhandosov, former National Bank chairman, on Jan. 8, 2007, said the resignation of Akhmetov as PM was expected "because he has done little good" for the economy, adding: "He was weak in terms of ideas and ability to build a good team".

In late 2000 Kulibayev became CEO of KazTransOil (KTO), the oil pipelines unit of KazakhOil, while Uzakbay Karabalin became CEO of the gas pipelines unit KazTransGaz (KTG). In May 2001 Kulibayev was made CEO of TransNefteGaz (TNG), in charge of both KTO and KTG. Kulibayev was behind the February 2002 merger of all units into the holding company KMG, which boosted his position. KMG's head of the upstream, Vladimir Miroshnikov, later said the new firm was copying Norway's example of having an integrated super-company similar to Statoil.

Kulibayev wanted to turn KMG into an empire, but more like Saudi Aramco than Statoil. He controlled the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and made sure it was to play in the petroleum sector the role which suited this company.
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Publication:APS Review Downstream Trends
Geographic Code:9KAZA
Date:Aug 6, 2012
Previous Article:Kazakhstan - Lyazzat Kiinov.
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