Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Visiting the "Field"

Went to visit the Karaccaganak Oilfield yesterday. Unfortunately it was snowing and very grey weather so not much to see. The oilfield is on the road from Aksai, the town where I am staying, to Orenburg, over the border in Russia. Security is enforced in the field, unusually passes are required to get both in and out.

The plant here mainly produces condensate + gas which I am informed is exported to Russia and via the Caspian Pipeline Consortium to the West. More info about this can be found at


The road to Orenburg, about 2.5 hours away, is very straight, banked up from its surroundings like railway track and on the day I travelled it, like an ice rink.

Going home overnight on Wednesday, have to leave the camp at 1am, 5 hours before the flight departs, so no doubt there will be much hanging about!

Last post on this topic tomorrow

Monday, 17 March 2008


Having been assured that spring had arrived we were all very surprised to find snow awaiting us when we got up for breakfast on Sunday morning, about 3 inches had fallen over night which changed the landscape completely.

Blizzards did not however stop these guys from seeing how many health and safety rules they could break in one go. I snapped this from the bus on the way back to Czech Camp, double click the picture to enlarge it and you will see one on them is up a ladder. What's unfortunately hidden is the welding torch the chap up the ladder is using on the lampost!

Only the British could travel as far east as you can go before bumping into China and in this interesting land choose to go out to eat at..... an Indian! My hopes of tasting some local cuisine were dashed by a visit to a local hotel (best restaurant in town) which has an Indian chef. He is obviously a busy man because he only had time to put 4 things on the menu. We chose them all and enjoyed our meal despite having no local input. This was followed by a visit to a large tin shack generously called a nightclub by those who took me there. Interesting experience, in KZ there a 4 x as many single women as men so the club dance floor was almost entirely populated by women. Couple of hours of Russion techo was all I could take so I retired, whilst my hosts decided to try another club in town, which they later informed me was just as good.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Finally Arrived

It seems a long way from Swindon to Aksai, 2 hours by train, hang aroud at the airport for hours, 5 flying and the 2 hours by bus to reach my destination. A bracing -6 degrees as I left the plane reminded me that I had travelled East. I flew with Flystar Astreus a growing airline that offered excellent service, although at a price, £950 return fare.

Having arrived safely at the Czech camp (built by Czechs funny enough), this is where I am staying. Clean and comfortable, better than anticipated.

The camp provides many facilities including a bank:

and a shop which Russian speakers amongst you will doubtless notice is called Tesco

and for sports fans don't miss all the hockey action at the icerink:

More to follow tomorrow, including the joys of a Kazak nightclub and a trip to the oilfield itself.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Kazakhstan here I come!

Tomorrow I am off to Kazakhstan, must be one of my longest client visits and I am looking forward to it. Watch this space for photos and information about my trip. I am visiting the Karachaganak oilfield in the N.E. of the country, close to the border with Russia. Flying into the ex Russian military airfield at Uralsk may be interesting, I don't suppose the duty free will be offering a wide selection.