Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kazakh State Seeks Bigger Energy Role

ReutersTwo Kazakh parliament deputies walking past a poster of President Nursultan Nazarbayev in Astana on Wednesday.
ASTANA, Kazakhstan -- Fresh from a bitter dispute with Western oil companies over a Caspian oil field, Kazakhstan wants to build up its weight further in its energy sector, the President Nursultan Nazarbayev said Wednesday.

The country reinforced its increasingly assertive role in oil diplomacy last month when it doubled its stake in the huge Kashagan oil field and stripped Italy's Eni of its leading role in the world's biggest oil find in three decades.

Its actions have alarmed foreign investors, who see them as part of the growing global trend of resource nationalism.

In his annual state-of-the-nation address, Nazarbayev called on the state to play a more active role in energy matters.

"We are consistently strengthening state influence in the strategically important energy sphere," he said. "You have all witnessed that we raised Kazakhstan's role in developing Kashagan. ... We will continue our work in that direction."

"Whatever they say, we have our own path of development," Nazarbayev said in his speech. "We are not behind anyone in terms of human rights or freedom. We will measure all our further steps by the stability of our nation.

"The main element of the oil and gas sector is a stronger state role as an influential participant in the international energy market," he said. "It is really important because it helps us enter global markets with value-added products," Nazarbayev said.