Rich in reserves of oil, metals, and minerals, Kazakhstan harbours healthy potential for the industrial gases business and some of this promise is now being realised with infrastructure development plans.

Reports this summer had noted that industrial production had contracted by 4.8% in Kazakhstan in the first four months of the year.

As a significant oil and metals producer, the country had been hit hard by the global economic crisis.

Economy contraction is expected this year, after more than a decade of growth, yet selected industries and industrial gas applications have still been showing signs of growth.

Oil production grew 4.4% in January to April, Alumina output grew 2.1%, and gold production jumped a huge 20.5% to 3.228 tonnes.

Growth in such industries is undoubtedly good news for industrial gas consumption along the way, while a programme of infrastructure development is underway and could have positive consequences itself.

Infrastructure development generally goes hand-in-hand with a need for industrial gases of varying types and modes of supply.

News agency Kazakhstan Today also reports that large petrochemical complexes are under construction in the Republic, demonstrating both the calibre of investment that is being attracted and further gases consumption.

The President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has been quoted as saying, “Large petrochemical complexes are under construction in Kazakhstan. One factory costs $4-6bn and, despite this, Kazakhstan attracts investments.”

Furthermore, the previously underdeveloped gas retail market and undermined bulk and packaged gases market could be set to move forward, with the advent of a number of road system developments that could overcome the major transport problems in the region.

President Nazarbayev is again quoted as explaining, “This year Kazakhstan will implement a number of projects. We will start construction of the motorway, which will pass through Kazakhstan - three and a half thousand kilometers from Western China up to the border with Russia, through Kazan and Moscow to Europe.”