Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/128392
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Type: Book chapter
Title: Challenges for Kazakhstan's energy sector to 2050
Author: Pomfret, R.
Citation: Sustainable Energy in Kazakhstan: Moving to Cleaner Energy in a Resource-Rich Country, 2018 / Kalyyuzhnova, Y., Pomfret, R. (ed./s), Ch.16, pp.267-281
Publisher: Routledge
Publisher Place: United Kingdom
Issue Date: 2018
Series/Report no.: Central Asia Research Forum
ISBN: 1138238449
9781138238442
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Richard Pomfret
Abstract: Since independence, Kazakhstan has passed through three phases of energy concerns, each of which posed distinct challenges. During the 1990s the principal concern was to exploit known oil reserves and explore for new fields. Although the process was uneven and provided only limited relief to the hardships of the transitional recession, its ultimate success was highlighted by Tengiz coming online, and the discovery of the Kashagan offshore field in 2000. After the turn of the century Kazakhstan experienced a massive oil-driven boom as both output and prices increased, and the principal issue was how to exploit the boom. The inevitable missteps were overshadowed by the overall increases in output and well-being, combined with establishment of a fund that could be used to address unanticipated shocks, such as the 2007 financial crisis, and to provide for future generations.1 Today the major challenge is how an energy-rich country should adjust to a world responding to climate change by paying increasing attention to cleaner energy sources. Whether Kazakhstan achieves its ambitious 2050 goals will depend on whether the country meets the current challenge as well as it dealt with the previous challenges. This chapter first highlights, in Section 16.1, the legacy of an energy-intensive economy inherited from the era of central planning and specialisation in producing coal and uranium in the Soviet economy. Although the transition of the 1990s was difficult, Kazakhstan turned out to have very good medium-term prospects based on the export of oil and gas. Section 16.2 examines the predictable decline in future demand for coal, oil and gas; the timing is uncertain, but the direction of change is not. The switch to renewable energy sources is uncertain, both with respect to timing and which renewables will turn out to be most economic. Section 16.3 makes the point that when technical change occurs it can be rapid, as illustrated by the example of Qatar, which before 2000 was sidelined relative to some of its neighbours by its lack of oil, but after 2000 Qatar boomed due to improved technology for producing and transporting gas, which allowed the country to take advantage of growing global concerns about dirty energy. Section 16.4 also draws on an example, describing how China is managing the transition away from an energy-intensive economy based on fossil fuels by taking a mixture of gradual experimental steps within a holistic picture of energy transition. Section 16.5 returns the focus to Kazakhstan, examining recent developments and analysing prospects for meeting the new energy challenge. Finally, Section 16.6 draws conclusions.
Rights: © 2018 Yelena Kalyuzhnova and Richard Pomfret. The rights of the editors to be identified as the authors of the editorial matter, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved.
RMID: 0030078197
DOI: 10.4324/9781315267302-17
Published version: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315267302
Appears in Collections:Economics publications

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