Atyrau Refinery: What Led The Refinery to Crisis

cover Photo: KMG Press Service

Kazakhstan's oil industry is being shaken by another scandal. The new head of the Atyrau refinery, Galymzhan Zhusanbayev, appointed at the beginning of the year, was the reason why his subordinates reached out to President Toqayev, reports .

Outrage, unprofessionalism, negligence — his employees attach such characteristics to him.

Only recently, a different director of ANPZ, Danbay, was handed down a sentence. After January 2022, the industry is in a bind, fuel is sharply rising in price, then it becomes scarce or prohibited for export. This has never happened before and here it is again! Orda tried to find out what was going on at a strategically important enterprise. 

A Second Before: How ANPZ Was One Step Away from an Accident

We have already written that the deputy general director and chief engineer of the plant, Adilet Shoshanbasov, addressed the president, as well as the Minister of Energy and the management of KazMunayGas, with an open letter. He accused the director of unacceptable behavior towards employees, drunkenness in the workplace, etc.  The last straw was the emergency shutdown of a processing unit at the plant, which could have resulted in fatalities. KMG has already set up a working group and stated that they will sort out the situation

Unexplained Personnel Changes

We contacted an independent party, i.e. the employees of ANPZ and associated companies. They agreed to speak with us only off the record.

What did we learn about? 

Solidarity with the author of the letter. The plant's employees claim that an explosion almost occurred at ANPZ because of the arrival of a person greatly unfamiliar with petrochemistry. 

As we were told, the problem arose due to technical issues:

Zhusanbayev had some strange instructions. The cherry on the cake was the order to conduct pressing of four long-dismantled pipes. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that they were steaming. Why do pressing for dismantled pipes? There is no answer to this question. And before that, he ordered to stop using hot steam on pipes. The installation costs there are only 500 thousand tenge. Hot steam allows you to envelop the smoke, thereby neutralizing harmful gases to a large extent. And the hot steam, inside which the black smoke dissolves, is an environmental protection. But most importantly, in winter it does not allow the unit to freeze. If the unit freezes, the entire plant will stop. The techies barely got out of doing this instruction. Why make such a fuss, endangering the plant itself?! 

Another employee expressed concern that the investigation from the head office would not be engaged in clarifying the true cause of the conflict, but in distracting public attention from the decision to appoint Zhusanbayev as director of the ANPZ was made by the Chairman of the KMG Board, Magzum Mirzagaliyev. 

They consider the authorities in Astana responsible for this. 

He dismissed a professional specialist, under whose leadership the ANPZ achieved ten historical records in 2023. At the peak of success. (He - Ed.) was fired instead of a bonus. And they assigned a person who is greatly unfamiliar with the specifics of production, a veteran of the plant told us.

Murat Dosmuratov is this professional specialist. He was appointed general director of ANPZ in July 2022 and dismissed a month ago.

Why was he fired? ANPZ employees claim this is because he is a pure professional, unaware of administrative craft, not a politician, nor an official, and the national company in Astana disliked him. One person told us so: "He is incapable of buttering up to the authorities!"

Employees generally attribute an increase in oil refining, an increase in tax revenues to the budget, and high qualifications to the former director of the plant. Everyone we talked to expressed confusion as to why he was sacked. 

Such unanimity, despite being expressed incognito, suggests that ordinary direct elections at the plant could resolve the crisis. Employees are indeed confident in paying tribute to the professionalism of one person and delegitimizing the business qualities of the other. In this scenario, it becomes unclear why the country's leadership so easily parted ways with the "competent" Dosmuratov. Are they unaware of what's happening on the ground? 

This crisis proves that personnel decisions should not be made by one person alone, and even more so without any justification. ANPZ began to operate more efficiently during the year and a half that it was managed by Dosmuratov. An explanation is due considering the severe shortage of personnel.

Theoretically, there should be no opportunity to appoint one's own people or those who "know how to butter up." You cannot rely on the appointees' integrity, patriotism, or dedication. Be it's Mirzagaliyev or someone else.


Atyrau oil Refinery was built in 1945. 99% of the company's share belongs to KMG. The design capacity of the enterprise reaches 5.5 million tons per year. ANPZ is one of three refineries that provide fuel to the whole country.

Original Author: Orda

DISCLAIMER: This is a translated piece. The text has been modified, the content is the same. Please refer to the original piece for accuracy.

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