Karabalin Made Kazakh Oil Minister, Mynbayev KazMunaiGaz CEO

Uzakbai Karabalin, the former chief of KazMunaiGaz National Co., was named Kazakhstan’s oil and gas minister while the incumbent will head the state-run explorer as the company takes a further stake in the Kashagan project.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev ordered Karabalin’s appointment today, according to a statement on the president’s website. Sauat Mynbayev, who has been oil minister since March 2010, replaced Lyazzat Kiinov as chief executive officer at KazMunaiGaz, parent Samruk-Kazyna said in an e-mailed statement.

Kazakhstan will exercise its right of first refusal and acquire the 8.4 percent stake held by ConocoPhillips in Kashagan, the country’s biggest oil field, the government said yesterday. KazMunaiGaz will carry out the purchase.

China National Petroleum Corp. will acquire an 8.33 percent holding in Kashagan from KazMunaiGaz for about $5 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said June 28.

Karabalin led KazMunaiGaz in 2008 when Kazakhstan doubled its stake in Kashagan to 16.81 percent, giving the government a larger share in future profit and resolving a dispute with partners over delays and cost overruns.

He is currently general director of the Kazakh Institute of Oil & Gas JSC.

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