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Kazakhstan plans $4 bln of contracts for infrastructure

Kazakhstan, the biggest oil producer in the former Soviet Union after Russia, plans to tender 500 billion tenge of transport contracts as the Central Asian country uses its oil wealth to improve infrastructure.

Tenders for 16 projects including road, railway and ports will be held for three years through 2009, Kairbek Sadvakasov, a Transport Ministry spokesman, said by phone from Astana today. Contractors will retain control of the infrastructure until they return their investment through tolls and other charges. Kazakhstan plans to build 1,600 kilometers of new railroads and to electrify 2,700 kilometers of existing ones, Zhenis Kasymbek, deputy transport and communications minister, said today, the Kazinform news service reported.
The Central Asian country also plans to resurface 50,000 kilometers of road. Kazakhstan's economy grew by 10.6% to $77.9 billion last year, bolstered by a 35.6% expansion of its building industry, the country's Statistics Agency said last week. The Central Asian nation of 15 million has 3.3% of the world's proven oil reserves and 1.7% of its gas, according to BP Plc's Statistical Review of World Energy.

By 2015, Kazakhstan's daily oil output may triple to 3.6 million barrels - amounting to about 4% of the world's output in 2005 and about a third of the contribution of Saudi Arabia, the world's largest crude supplier. The country plans a total 3.4 trillion tenge of transport projects through 2015. This includes 124 billion tenge planned for civil aviation in the next three years, about a quarter of that financed from the state budget.
The government also plans to tender the management contract for the Caspian port of Aktau, the country's biggest, according to a November 21 statement from the prime minister's office. The proposed infrastructure projects come after China last month bid $2.3 billion to help build a highway across Kazakhstan, allowing freight to be driven directly from producers in China to European markets. (Bloomberg)