The Shymkent oil refinery (Photo via PetroKazakhstan Oil Products LLP)
Shymkent, a city in southern Kazakhstan, has thrived thanks to the concerted efforts of China and Kazakhstan to upgrade the local oil factory into a modern and environmentally-friendly refinery.
Originally built in the 1970s, the Shymkent oil refinery has failed to produce high-quality oil in recent years due to backward manufacturing techniques and old equipment.
In February 2014, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) officially started to help Shymkent modernize the refinery.
The first and second phase of the project were completed and put into production in 2017 and 2018, respectively. The refinery was then able to produce 6 million tons of crude oil per year.
Before the first phase was completed, Kazakhstan needed to import 800,000 to 1 million tons of high-grade oil every year, said Jiang Shi, President of PetroKazakhstan Oil Products LLP.
Last year when the refinery started to produce quality oil, the Kazakhstan government announced that the country was able to produce enough high-quality fuel to satisfy domestic demand and was even preparing to export petroleum to neighboring Central Asian countries.
More than 10 percent of the funds for the project were used to dispose of waste water, gas and solids. By adopting the world’s most advanced sulfur removal technology and sulfur recovery technique developed by the CNPC, the oil factory could reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by 15,100 tons per year.
Besides creating thousands of jobs for the local people, the refinery strictly complied with the relevant laws in Kazakhstan and ensured that Kazakhstan and Chinese employees got the same salaries for the same amount of work, according to Gulnaz Ashirbayeva, Director for Administrative and Legal Matters and Human Resources, PKOP LLP.
The Chinese company has also shouldered social responsibilities such as funding local orphanages, hospitals, primary and secondary schools and poor families.