Story about ESS company at Tengiz

Petrocouncil continues a series of articles on major oil and gas contractors. This time we continue with ESS Support Services – divisions of Compass Kazakhstan LLP which provides services at the Tengiz field.

Compass Kazakhstan LLP is the largest service provider in the Republic of Kazakhstan, a subsidiary of Compass Group International B.V. – a world leader in catering, cleaning, facility management and maintenance, hospitality and other related services. It has over 500,000 employees in more than 50 countries around the world serving 5 billion meals to 500,000 customers worldwide a year.

Open sources indicate that Compass Kazakhstan provides a full range of catering services in a high-quality format which is based on an innovative and high-class approach to corporate catering. At the request of the client, specific menus are developed that reflect the variety of dishes that match the cultural characteristics of the employees and the client’s budget. The company has implemented high safety standards. All employees undergo rigorous occupational health and safety training to educate them in the latest cooking techniques.

ESS Support Services Worldwide is a division of Compass Group providing premium catering and support services for offshore and remote locations. The company defines itself as a contractor offering a progressive and innovative approach with a quick response to clients and offshore employees.

In Tengiz ESS has built a rotating village for 4,000 people which is located in close proximity to Shanyrak and TCO sites. The village is provided with fast check-in and check-out services, quality food, workout areas, bar, shop and cafe.

Social projects and charity

The ESS company provides financial assistance and is involved in charity events periodically. For example, on an ongoing basis it supports the Kazakhstani national equestrian dressage team where for the first time the team took part in Moscow competition.

In 2018 ESS supported a greenhouse project that was opened in the Zhyloy district with a capacity of 670 tons of vegetables per year and 30 new jobs. At the same time, there was criticism about the inefficiency and transparency of the project.

In 2019 ESS equipped the offices of the Zhylyoi Oil and Gas Technical College with new equipment and tools.

In 2020 during a global pandemic and quarantine restrictions, the company provided the Shanyrak family-type village in the Atyrau region with a six-month supply of disinfectant and books. The village is now home to about 60 children from 4 to 18 years old. Also, the company provided financial support in organizing and conducting training courses for hippotherapists in Atyrau.

In April 2020 the general director of the company received a letter from the parajudo federation of the Atyrau region about the provision of material assistance in the form of the purchase of sports equipment, namely kimono to athletes who received a license to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics. The company’s management responded positively to the request and 10 pieces of kimono were ordered directly from Japan. Our three dzodoists Anuar Sariyev, Zarina Baybatina and Daulet Temirzhan won silver medals in Tokyo 2020.

Interesting fact

More than 10 years ago the company conducted a unique experiment – several women drivers were hired to provide more comfortable transportation for females. Since there are specialists from different countries of the world with different cultural traditions in Tengiz and in Atyrau and to have comfortable drive in the company’s cars it was decided to create a pool of women drivers. To this day, the company employs women drivers.


The company has repeatedly appeared in the press because of the scandals associated with workers’ positions and strikes. On July 25 2021 employees of ESS demanded an increase in wages from the management referring to very low salaries. TCO commented on this situation for the regional newspaper Ak Zhaiyk:

‘Tengizchevroil have learned that employees of the ESS/Compass-Kazakhstani contractor had expressed concerns about labor relations. TCO was informed that the management of the contractor company is taking immediate action to resolve the issue. In view of the fact that we are talking about internal issues of ESS/Compass-Kazakhstan, all inquiries should be directed to the management of this company.’

In turn, the general director of ESS Mike TAYLOR in an official response to AZh said that the company’s management received a letter from 213 employees to raise wages: ‘We appreciate our employees and the work they do. We are conducting a dialogue with them in solving this problem and will work within the framework of the current labor legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In the meantime, in accordance with the terms of the Collective Agreement, ESS is conducting a program of regular salary revisions taking into account annual inflation. In January 2021 hourly wages increased by 6%. ESS management also works with key stakeholders including partners, local and regional governments and trade unions. We are always ready to discuss with employees any problems they may have’ the letter says.

Another strike reported in the media happened in 2010 where four workers of ESS were accused by management of organizing an unauthorized strike and as a result court decision they were found to violate administrative law and were fined.

At the same time, it was reported that the workers were only going to discuss working conditions among themselves and a possible reaction to the demand for an increase in wages which they had previously sent to ESS general director, akim and the labor protection department. Workers could not get feedback from the company’s management and they sent a letter to TCO General Director Todd LEVY. In the letter the workers asked the management to raise wages, fully compensate travel expenses associated with the rotation, provide a social package and pay the regional coefficient.

It also should be noted that in previous years a lot of criticism was expressed against the company for the effectiveness of attracting Kazakhstani subcontractors to Tengiz project. Kazakhstani companies have complained about transparency and subcontractor selection issues.

And what is your opinion about ESS, write in the comment.