Top 20 Expats 2022

We introduce the 2nd Annual Review ‘Top 20 Expats 2022’ who contribute to the development of the oil and gas industry in Kazakhstan Foreign companies started to work in Kazakhstan back in 1992 roght after the collapse of the Soviet Union ans they have been making their contribution to the development of the oil and gas industry in Kazakhstan.

The list includes top managers of oil and gas companies and private businesses.
Below in the link you.can see the bio and contributions they have done.

Luca Vignati, Upstream director ENI

Luca Vignati Eni’s Natural Resource Upstream Director as of Feb. 7th 2022. Natural Resources includes E&P, gas and LNG Midstream, CCUS, Natural Climate Solutions, Agro-feedstock and Sustainable Development activities.

Luca graduated with honors from Mining Engineering of University of Bologna.

He had several assignments in Italy , Congo, Nigeria, Libya, Norway, Egypt, Tunisia, Great Britain, Turkmenistan, he covered many managerial and technical positions in reservoir management, petroleum engineering and production departments. In the period from 2012 to 2020 he was working in Kazakhstan, where he covered the position of Operations Director & Deputy General Director in Karachaganak Petroleum Operating (2012-2014), Managing Director & Resident Manager Agip Karachaganak (2015-2016), and EVP of Central Asia Region (2016-2020). He served as Chairman of the Shareholder Committee from 2017 to 2019 at the Kashagan Project. From 2020 to 2021 he has been the Head of Commercial Negotiations for Eni, and the Head of Sub-Saharan Africa Region Upstream Business from 2021 to early 2022. Luca, having mature considerable experience in managing complex Joint Ventures, and in commercial negotiations in challenging environments, contributed a lot to various local content developments and in country value creation in Kazakhstan and other locations. For his considerable contribution into the development of oil and gas sector Luca Vignati was awarded with medals of Kazakhstan.

In 2019 from the Head of State K.Tokayev he received State Order “Friendship” for the active promotion of  cooperation between Kazakhstan and Italy. Besides that, he iwas awarded the highest title of Knight Order of Merit of the Italian Republic on the initiative of President of the Republic of Italy.

Kevin Lyon, General Director, TCO

Withing just two years in Kazakhstan Kevin Lyon represented himself as a great manager who ensures safe and reliable operations at such a complex project as Tengizchevroil. In 2022 TCO’s direct payments to the Republic of Kazakhstan totaled $7.5 billion, the highest number in the last 5 years. Under Kevin’s supervision nationalization of TCO workforce reached new level: excluding the FGP-WPMP workforce, Kazakhstani citizens today hold 94.4 percent of TCO positions, compared to 50 percent in 1993. TCO continues investing in people and technology. Also, Kevin Lyon meets with young oil and gas professionals and shares his knowledge and experience, inspiring younger generation to become global professionals. After years of negotiations, under Kevin Lyon’s management TCO started supplying propane to the first gas chemical complex in Kazakhstan. Currently, TCO is working on the Lower Carbon Strategy, that will benefit Kazakhstan for years ahead.

Oliver Lazar, Managing Director, NCOC

Oliver Lazar is a French native with a PhD in Nuclear Physics, Olivier Lazare has over 30 years’ experience with Shell. His career has included a diverse range of roles in engineering, contracting and procurement, strategy and planning, and new business development, taking him to the UK, the Netherlands, Gabon, Brunei, Oman, Australia, the US and Russia. He was country Chair in Russia and in Kazakhstan. Olivier Lazar actively promotes and supports the concept of “in-country value” (maintaining and creating value within the country).

 Under his direct leadership NCOC could manage the consequences of COVID smoothly as well as optimize the company operations. In addition, under Oliver’s leadership some of top positions within NCOC were nationalized. He also could manage turnaround of the Karabatan facility. 

Giancarlo Ruiu, General Director, KPO

Giancarlo Ruiu has 20 years of  experience within the oil & gas industry, both in Kazakhstan and overseas, where he held managerial roles covering the full cycle of exploration, development & operation and business development. In his most recent assignment he held the position of Head of Surface Program in ADNOC /UDR, the JV of Eni in Abu Dhabi. Earlier he held the roles of Managing Director in Eni Ghana and Development Phase 1 Director in the North Caspian Operating Company.

Giancarlo’s strong professional background and good understanding of Venture’s business performance have been contributing to KPO efficiency.

Under his leadership KPO reached good performance.

In ½ 2022 KPO produced 71.4 million barrels of oil, export raw gas and sweet fuel gas. In addition, 5.7 billion cubic meters of raw gas were injected into the reservoir, which accounts for 54.3% out of the total gas produced in the field.

KPO has achieved a gas utilisation rate of 99.96% for the first half-year period of 2022, demonstrating a world class performance. To date, KPO has invested $446 million into implementation of a wide range of environmental initiatives.

KPO is one of the first companies in Kazakhstan that has launched and is successfully implementing a Local Content Development Programme. For the first half year period the Local Content in KPO contracts for procurement of goods, works and services has made 54.8 per cent or $205.9 million in monetary terms.

As for nationalization, for the same period , KPO national employees accounted for as high as 98% of all engineering and technical personnel and 85% of managerial staff.

Bian Dezhi, President, CNPC Central Asia & Russia

Bian Dezhi is Senior Vice President of China National Oil and Gas Exploration and Development Corporation and President of CNPC Central Asia and Russia. From July 1984 until 2017 Bian Dezhi successfully held the positions of Head of Department, Deputy Director of the Oil Development Department of the CNPC Exploration and Production Institute in SUER of China, Deputy General Director of CNPC International in Kazakhstan, Deputy General Director of CNPC Aktobemunaigas, Vice President of China National Oil and Gas Exploration and Development Corporation, Chairman of the Board of CNPC in Kazakhstan”. From 2017 to 2022, he held the position of Senior Vice President of China National Oil and Gas Exploration and Development Corporation and President of CNPC Central Asia. From 2022 to the present, he holds the position of President of CNPC Central Asia and Russia. As the head of CNPC International in Kazakhstan, he oversees a number of large oil-producing assets (Aktobemunaigas JSC, Northern Buzachi, KAM, CNPC-Aidan Munai JSC, 67% in PetroKazakhstan, 50% in Mangistaumunaigas JSC, 8.33% in NCOC) and main pipelines in the country. Under his direct leadership company could increase the production and increase tax base. CNPC accounts for 11.5% of oil production in Kazakhstan or 9.8 million tons of oil

Tim Miller. non-executive director, KMG

Tim Miller is serving as   non-executive director to KMG and is serving as executive director of IGS Kazakhstan service provider. Tim served as General Director of Tengizchevroil company and Managing Director of Chevron Eurasia Unit from 2010 to 2018.

Over the years of Tim’s work in Kazakhstan payments to the Republic of Kazakhstan (wages and Kazakhstani goods and services, tax payments and royalties) exceeded $ 100 billion. Also, with Tim’s direct participation the Future Expansion Project was started with budget of more than $ 40 billion and more than 45 thousand new jobs. He also supported the international appointments program which allowed hundreds of TCO’s Kazakhstani employees to undergo long-term international internships in Chevron units around the world and supported a program for replacing foreign employees with Kazakhstani specialists including management positions. Tim supported an increase in the budget of the ‘Igilik’ program to $ 25 million per year aimed at the construction of schools, hospitals, sports facilities and other social infrastructure in Atyrau region. Since 2021, he has been invited as an independent director to KazMunaiGas National Company. In KMG Tim has been playing important role to provide recommendations to the national company to improve the processes within the company. As executive director of IGS Kazakhstan company under Tim leadership could achieve tremendous results. Company employs many locals and promote local content development.

Michael Kraly, FGP Director, TCO

Michael Kraly has made a tremendous contribution to the safe and reliable FGP-WPMP progress. He has managed end ensured project development under very challenging circumstances including COVID-19 pandemic and January civil unrest. Since the commencement of FGP-WPMP, TCO has spent over $14.2 billion to purchase Kazakhstani goods and services. Michel Kraly provided timely completion of the work scopes, to date the project is 94% done.

Recent key project milestones include:  Integrated Operations Control Center (IOCC) is operational Cluster 55

First Oil was achieved on June 13th.

Electrical Substation energized for Pressure Boost Facility FGP-WPMP is a project of national importance and is helping to create a legacy of a trained and skilled local workforce, technology transfer through partnerships with international companies, and upgraded infrastructure in the region.

Trevor Runge, Managing Director, TotalDunga

Trevor is canadian, over 35 years of Experience in Oil & Gas. He graduated MIT.

Since 2018 he is managing director of Total Dunga. Since 2016-2018 he worked for Maersk Oil (technical director, managing director) overseeing Dunga project. Prior to that, he worked for BP for over 13 years in various responsible positions and regions (Azerbaijan, Egypt)

 Trevor started his career in Canada working for Home Oil Co, Canadian Hunter, before starting an International career with Shell in the North Sea then joined BP and held various senior positions at BP including:
– Vice President Activity Planning for BP Upstream group Worldwide
– Chirag Asset and development Manager in Azerbaijan overseeing over 150,000 bbls per day of Production and field development with managing over 140 people between staff& contractors
– Reservoir & Wells Manager, Chirag/Deep Water Gunashli Performance Unit, BP Azerbaijan (over 50 staff) overlooking development and update of depletion plans, reserves progression and management, reservoir studies, etc.
He worked also as a subsurface Team leader in BP assets Egypt, Reservoir, operations department head in BP GUPCO (JV with EGPC) in Egypt.
Trevor has world-class experience. Under his leadership company could build trusted relationships with the major stakeholders in Kazakhstan. In addition, he pays attention to local content and local staff development. Top management of TotalDunga mostly consist of locals; local content grew more than 50%.

Quintin Goldie, CEO Bolashak Group

Quintin joined Bolashak in November 2010 initially as Operations Director, and was appointed Managing Director in 2011, subsequently taking over the role of Chief Executive Officer with overall responsibility for all companies in the Bolashak Group. Quintin has thirty five years’ experience in providing a wide range of technical and industrial services to the Oil and Gas and construction industries. Prior to joining Bolashak, Quintin successfully managed an industrial services company in Baku, and subsequently introduced the company into the Kazakhstan market. The company underwent a period of fast profitable growth, which led to their acquisition by a major international provider of industrial services. Quintin’s wide experience, knowledge and passion for the industry have been a great asset in leading Bolashak. He has focused on strengthening the Safety and Quality cultures in Bolashak’s Group, as well as developing the Group’s management team. Under Quintin’s stewardship, Bolashak’s place in the market has strengthened greatly and is well-positioned for further growth over the coming years.

Quintin could grow company that became one of the biggest taxpayers in Kazakhstan as well as the biggest service provider.

Edwin Bloom, Non-executive director, Neftechim LTD

Edwin Bloom, ex-General Director of KPO (2018-2021).

Under the direct management of Edwin, KPO was able to successfully complete the debottleneck project at the Karachaganak field. The project started in 2018 and ended in 2021 ahead of schedule despite the pandemic. The project allows processing up to 4 billion m3/year of natural gas and will also increase production by about 10 million tons/year.
Edwin was awarded the Dostyk II level Order of the Republic of Kazakhstan for his contribution to the development of the oil and gas industry.

Edwin Bloom has a bachelor’s degree in O&G from the University of Nuderhax, Helder (Netherlands); he joined Shell in 1989 at a BEB acid gas dehydrogenation plant in Germany. In 1995 he was transferred to Shell in Aberdeen (UK) as project manager for the implementation of the central field plant maintenance strategy.
From 1996 to 1997 worked as commissioning and commissioning manager for offshore facilities at Shell in Venezuela. For the next three years, he was the head of the offshore complex, responsible for the activities of Shell Venezuela in the western field of Urdaneta.
 In 2000 he was transferred to Shell Gabon as Maintenance Manager. In 2003 he was appointed as the Head of the Business Planning and Economics Department.

In 2005-2008 held various senior positions at E&P Shell Malaysia (Miri). At the same time, he served as Dutch Honorary Consul for East Malaysia. Later HE moved to Shell E&P in Rijswijk, The Netherlands as Global Head of Maintenance and Manufacturing Integrity. Since 2013 he has been responsible for the implementation of various global programs to improve industrial safety and reliability.
Later in 2016, he was appointed as the Vice President for compliance and audit in the field of labor protection, industrial safety, environmental protection and social efficiency.
On April 1, 2018 Edwin was appointed as the General Director of Karachaganak Petroleum Operating.

Damon Thornburg, General Manager finance, Chevron

Damon Thornburg is the Finance General Manager of Chevron’s Eurasia Business Unit and CEO of Chevron Direct Investment Fund Ltd.. He is based in Almaty, Kazakhstan, a position effective since February 2021.

Previously Damon served as the General Manager for Enterprise Finance at Chevron Downstream & Chemicals, a position based in San Ramon, California, that he assumed in 2017.

Prior to that, he held a number of positions of increasing scope and responsibility at Chevron Corporation, including Manager of Corporate Forecasts & Reporting; Country Finance Manager for Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Vietnam; Finance General Manager for Greater China based in Hong Kong; and multiple other positions based in the United States.

Damon holds a degree in Economics from University of Wyoming and a Master of Business Administration from Cornell University.

Damon manages the investment fund that discloses its activities in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding signed on October 11, 2021 between the Ministry of Energy of Kazakhstan and Chevron to create an investment fund in the amount of $248.5 million.

Starting from this year, the Fund began searching for projects within Kazakhstan for investment in order to develop the economy of Kazakhstan. The Fund will invest in large commercial projects in various fields, including the production of goods, the execution of works and the provision of services in the oil and gas industry, environmental protection, as well as projects in information and digital technologies.

The Fund will invest in local content development, job creation, enterprise development, experience and technology transfer.

Hanieh Nickfarman , General Manager, Karachaganak project, Shell

Hanieh Nikfarman is an Asset Manager for Karachaganak at Shell Kazakhstan. Together with co-operators from Eni SpA, she has been involved into the number of initiatives related to the development of Karachaganak oilfield as well development of local talents (e.g. enhanced nationalization of key positions and functions) and increase of in country value (ICV). One of the achievement has been an FID for KEP1A project, to which she has greatly contributed. One of he roles has been a stakeholder management to cooperatively bring together the shareholders of Karachaganak venture and local authorities (PSA LLP) with an added value agenda for Karachaganak venture.

Damianos Efthymiadis, General Director, Semarco LLP

Damianos is the General Director of SemArco.

SemArco is JV between international Archirodon company and local «Semurg Invest» LLP

He graduated the Sapienza University of Rome in Architecture.

Damianos organized and ran the operations for two large construction companies, designing and executing various prominent projects in the public sector. In 2013, Damianos fulfilled a long-term objective by re-joining Archirodon, this time with the challenging mandate to establish SemArco in the new market of Central Asia and CIS countries. During the last 9 years, he combined his knowledge of the Business with his talent for creating new opportunities, successfully laying strong foundations through important partnerships and establishing solid business relationships with Clients and the local market. A client-centered professional is leading SemArco through new challenges. Under his direct supervision company pays high attention to local content development and employs local people. In addition, company could increase a number of clients in O&G, chemical industry

Ezzio Bracco, Owner, KIOS

Ezio Bracco, Italian entrepreneur and engineer, originally graduated from the University of Genova, has spent more than 30 years developing the Kazakh market. In these years he has achieved in founding and developing three local companies (Expertise LLP, KIOS LLP and KIOS Techflow LLP) investing locally over $30m to secure the most innovative solutions to service the Oil&Gas market in Kazakhstan. The three companies have created overall more than 2,000 local jobs with an expected turnover of $50m in 2023.

Darren Bonney, General Manager Technical, NCOC

Darren is General Manager, (Technical) of NCOC since June 2020. He is an inspirational and caring leader with deep technical expertise and extensive operational experience. He has a deep rooted passion to develop local talent to ensure the long term development of Kashagan Phase I operations. Most recently he has been leading the recovery efforts with the Bolashak slugcatcher to maximise production and reinstate world class reliability at the facility.

Prior to NCOC he worked for Shell in India as Asset manager for 6 years. He also worked for BG Group for 11 years where he was promoted to Vice-president Panna, Mukhta and Tapti JV in India. Prior to BG he used to work for BP for 11 years.

Haymish Paulse, Deputy General Manager, Corporate Affairs, TCO

Haymish Paulse has been actively involved into social investments program implementation in Zhylyoi district and Atyrau region. Through his wealth of experience and extensive knowledge in corporate affairs, Haymish Paulse extended Social Investments projects’ efficiency, transparency, and improved the number of beneficiaries in Atyrau region. Also, Haymish voluntarily meets with Atyrau teenagers helping them with professional orientation and providing them advice on higher education. Finally, Haymish promotes Kazakh culture and spread the word about Kazakhstan around the world.

Haymish has opened opportunity for Kazakhstani PGPA professionals for Chevron assignments, supporting local professionals.

Artur Nigmatyanov

BD manager, Central Asia leader, Honeywell

Arthur is a young professional. He has been working in Kazakhstan for more than 3 years with Honeywell. Before Kazakhstan he worked in the Honeywell n Moscow, Russia.

Artur has been actively involved in raising Honeywell’s investments in Kazakhstan. This year, the company opened an assembly shop for automation systems in Almaty and purchased additional equipment for a training center in Atyrau.

Arthur is a member of the Honeywell President’s Club

Frank Davenport, Senior Project manager, WoodKSS

Frank is highly accomplished professional in the Engineering and Construction Industry, with over 35 years’ experience in the chemical, plastic, fibers, power generation, petrochemical, governmental, environmental, pulp & paper, film, and general medium to heavy E&C projects. Responsibilities include the management (Director) of project + $500 million (EPC), manager of projects that totaled over $2 billion of project activities, country manager of international office with over 700 employees, international project manager for $200 million construction effort, turnover coordinator for a $5 billion nuclear power plant facility, and the integration of six diverse service companies into one operating company.

Since 2018 he is senior Project Manager for WOOD KSS directly responsible for EPC for the largest Automation effort on the FGP Tengizchevroil project. All Brown field engineering was done in Atyrau and Tengiz on this $1 billion scope effort utilizing a diverse staff from all over the globe.

Additionally, acts as a Senior Project Manager for KTL Switchgear Upgrade Project responsible for the Engineering efforts on major brownfield capital project at Tengiz KTL facilities.

Consistently acts as a great mentor for young local professionals.

Cem Yıldırım, Customer Support Division Director, Borusan Cat

Cem is customer support division director in Borusan Cat.

Borusan Cat carries out its activities in Türkiye as well as Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Far East of Russia.

Company opened its second Component Rebuild Center in Kazakhstan in Atyrau (4.000 m2 facility in Atyrau for clients in Western Kazakhstan. Atyrau facility (a total investment of 8 million dollars) was opened September 2022 after about two years of constructing and will also contribute to employment in the region. Cem took active part in the opening of new facility outskirts of Atyrau city.  Currently in Atyrau there are around 60 employees (only 1 of them is expat) and the strategy is to keep the local content amount as high as possible.

At the end of this year, Cem and his team plan to increase the total employee amount in Atyrau to 80 people.

Leonardo Nencioni, Operations Manager, Petrovalves

Leonardo is the COO of Petrovalves SpA. The Italian company Petrovalves SpA opened a center for the production and maintenance of valves in Aksai, WKO this year. The total investment is more than 6 mln USD.

More than 40 jobs will be created at the plant.

In the first year, the Center will produce 500 valves, in 2023 – 2500 valves, in 2024 – more than 3500 valves.

Over the years, Leonardo worked in

GE, Baker Hughes in Russia.