Katie Leach: Britain invested £ 849.6m in Kazakhstan in 2020

Recently, British Ambassador Katie Leach paid a working visit to Atyrau. Petrocouncil met with her and was able to talk with her about cooperation between the UK and Kazakhstan, as well as about transformation in the oil and gas industry.

– Dear Kathy, what is the aim of you visit?

– I am enormously pleased to be in Atyrau, to visit the West of the country, to see the beautiful city, warmth of the people. 

Post COP26, where Kazakhstan made important commitments, really keen to talk to the energy companies who must become part of the solution – great work being done by many oil and gas companies to decarbonise as much as possible, and invest in the next generation of new technologies.  I want to focus on the new opportunities for business in the green transformation, and how government policy, city/oblast policy, and the international community can support that. 

Also I want to meet British businesses, and understand what will help them grow their business, and thereby increase this region’s jobs and prosperity.

How you see 30 years of cooperation?  

– We have had a great thirty years of partnership – in oil and gas, education, financial sector, and in many other areas. We are now focused on green transformation: looking at decarbonising the power sector, renewables, digitilisation, and more education collaborations. This is such an important agenda – with the chance to create new, highly-skilled jobs.  And I think the really exciting thing is that there are now so many young people from Kazakhstan, who have studied in the UK over many years, who are several years into their careers and are in a great position to help build the links that will benefit both our countries.             

Is it possible to decarbonise the economy?

– The UK has been leading the way and shown that green growth is possible – over the last 30 years our economy has grown by 78% while cutting emissions by 44%. The UK was the first country to commit to reduce carbon emissions by 78% by 2035. We will completely phase out coal power by 2024 and is on course to be the fastest G7 country to decarbonise cars and vans by 2030. This all demonstrates that bold transformation is possible, when government ambition, targets, and policy frameworks align.

 So, the UK is ready to share its experience and assist with reaching net zero and green transformation globally.

How the recent COP26 changed the sustainability agenda globally?

– As hosts of COP26, we recognise how urgently the world must come together to agree action to tackle climate change. Every country, government, business and part of society must embrace their responsibility to protect our planet and keep the 1.5 degree target alive. As individuals, we all have a part to play too.

 We are really delighted that Prime Minister Askar Mamin joined the World Leaders’ Summit, along with over 120 world leaders and Kazakhstan reaffirmed its commitment to the global climate change agenda.  Our Prime Minister has emphasised four areas in particular to ‘keep 1.5 alive’: coal, cars, trees and cash.

We must outline policies to phase out coal, the most polluting fuel, and also replace petrol cars with zero emissions vehicles, both by the 2040s. And these commitments are an enormous step forward for the clean transition – the key issue now is what concrete policies, regulatory frameworks and carbon pricing will incentivise the public and private investment needed.  We also must protect the world’s forests and maximise carbon gains in our use of land; and we must make sure we have mobilised the investment we need in both decarbonisation, and also adaptation to the climate change we are already experiencing. If we don’t act now, we will continue to see the worst effects of climate change such as catastrophic flooding, air pollution, bush fires, extreme weather, and the mass extinction of species.  

Taking this into account what future of oil and gas companies you see?

– We had successful experience working in Atyrau, for almost 18 years, since 2004, we set up 34 partnerships. Probably you heard about such companies as Baker Huges, Bureau Veritas, Fluor, Halliburton, Worley, etc.

 British businesses continue to partner with Kazakhstan. In 2020, 849.6 mln pounds have been invested in Kazakhstan, only in Q1 2021 the amount totalled 397.9 mln pounds.

– UK is a trusted partner and our businesses are a significant investor in Atyrau and West Kazakhstan, and now we are going to offer our assistance in transition from being oil and gas companies to “energy companies”.

British business renowned for world leading standards/expertise, and they stand ready to tackle these global challenges and contribute to the prosperity of the region.