Atyrau Energy Chalenge winners shared their views on participating in the contest

More than 100 projects were submitted to the programmers contest organized by and Atyrau HUB jointly with the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and the APEC PetroTechnic Higher College. The initiative was also supported by the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovations and Aerospace Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Akimat of Atyrau Region and Astana HUB.

Industry digitization

Worth reminding, that the Oil and Gas Strategic Partnership Development Council – – founded under the auspices of RoK NCE Atameken and the Kazenergy Association, announced a programmers’ competition in early October. The participants were tasked with developing IT solutions in the field of compliance with safety rules, facilitating the processes of warehousing and storage of materials, reducing paper workflow and the industrial Internet of things.

The contest was supported by such major oil and gas operators as North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC) and Tengizchevroil LLP, as well as Astana HUB – the international technology park of IT startups located in the capital of Kazakhstan – in the city of Nur-Sultan. The prize fund of $10 thousand was provided by Norsec Delta Projects (provider of IT services and equipment), SITEK Caspian (engineering, installation and commissioning of electrical equipment in the oil and gas industry) and Ayacom (information technology and automation).

The aim of the Atyrau Energy Challenge contest was to find and help introduce the most promising solutions for the oil and gas industry in Kazakhstan, to attract domestic programmers to develop unique digital products able to compete with foreign counterparts.

According to Adlet Nurgozhin, Executive Director of Astana HUB, during the “Digitization of Kazakhstan Oil and Gas Industry round table, the Republic still faces development of human resources potential of the IT industry. According to him, there is a need to train Kazakh nationals in IT entrepreneurship.

At the same time, the volume of purchases of goods and services in the oil and gas industry in the Republic is growing. Only three large operators: TCO, NCOC and KPO spent around $180 million on purchases in the IT-industry last year. The volume is expected to increase to $500 million over the next five years, said Asylbek Dzhakiev, Secretary of the Oil and Gas Strategic Partnership Development Council

New Ideas

During the “Atyrau Energy Chalenge” DEMO Day, which took place in the APEC PetroTechnic assembly hall, 10 contestants who were selected for the final stage of the competition presented their work.

Programmers and webmasters had the opportunity to demonstrate their developments and hear the competent opinion of the jury members, including Bauyrzhan Kassenov – TCO Digitization Coordinator, Ivo Albers – NCOC Information Technologies and Information Management General Manager, Alan Aralbayev – Director of Digitalization and Informatization Department of the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The first place and the $5 thousand grand prize of the contest were awarded to Sergey Kim of Naural Shield.

His team presented to the jury a mobile application for “SAFE-R” cards, capable of automating the technosphere security process for NCOC. Launching the application will help to speed up the request filing process and reduce the troubleshooting period.

According to the source from, Naural Shield is working on information technology innovations and development of IT products. The main focus is on development of software for industrial enterprise process automation, as well as technosphere safety. At the moment, the team is working on development of access management systems.

“It was a great contest indeed, the holding of which emphasizes the importance of digitization and small startups in the field of IT. This event gathered many interested companies and talented young people. “I think the contest opened up many opportunities for cooperation with major companies,” said Sergey Kim and noted “We have gained a strong network of acquaintances, and we also hope for cooperation with those companies in the future.”

According to him, after participating in the Atyrau Energy Challenge, many expressed interest in the services provided by Naural Shield.

The second place and the $3 thousand prize were awarded to Darmen Zholtay and his InSight team which united five friends that work in different companies but share a common interest for developing artificial intelligence, which influenced the choice of a task from SITEK Caspian.

The company has set 2 objectives for a combination of hardware (LIDAR) and software. The first objective was to visualize the number of people in the room, and the second one was to develop their own software to identify people and their routes.

“The principle of operation of LIDAR is not much different from the radar: the directional beam from a transmitter bounces back off targets, returns to the source and gets captured by a highly sensitive receiver. Response time is directly proportional to the distance to the target,” explains the source from

In the course of the contest, developers provided demo versions of their products.

Darmen Zholtay says artificial intelligence is the term used for the entire field, just like biology or chemistry. Machine learning is a section of artificial intelligence that is important, but not the only one. Neural networks are one of the types of machine learning algorithms that has become popular lately. Deep learning is the architecture of neural networks, one of the approaches to their construction and training. At the same time, Data Science is a general term that refers to the use of statistical methods for data analysis. The data specialist’s work includes, but is not limited to, the use of advanced techniques such as machine learning. More traditional methods are also used, and objectives can range from building deep learning models to descriptive analysis and data visualization.

“At the same time, only things of the same level can be compared, otherwise it will result in a complete chaos, such as “which is better: cow or milk?”. In fact, all these concepts are time-dependant, with gradual development of technologies. Today, we can say that “artificial intelligence” (AI) as of the fall of 2019, is defined by scientific community as “machine learning,” in particular, “Deep Learning,” noted the specialist.

The objectives that Deep Learning algorithms achieve well are computer vision tasks: object recognition and object identification. That was the objective set by SITEK Caspian.

“As a company we have not developed anything so far. However, the team members participated in various projects related to Data Science, ranging from building an Integrated Planning System in the Samruk-Kazyna group of companies to “smart ATMs” that recognize customers through face verification,” shares Darmen Zholtay. 

According to him, participation in the Atyrau Energy Challenge gave the guys an impetus to found their own company. With SITEK Caspian, developers look forward to further fruitful cooperation.

Aruzhan Amanbaeva, a student of the Kazakh-British Technical University, and her Dream-Team, who developed a mobile app for real-time safety for NCOC called AMANOS, were awarded the third place and a prize of $1,500.

“We got a huge feedback, met with representatives of such companies as NCOC, Ayacom. Implementation of the projects will commence November 15th. I think that the experience of mentors will help us develop our project further”, said Aruzhan Amanbaeva and noted that Ayacom intended to continue to cooperate with the Dream-Team and implement the product developed by the team.