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(SRI) - In a government reorganization last Friday, Kazakhstan's president Nursultan Nazarbayev created a new oil and gas ministry and reshuffled the cabinet.


Sauat Mynbayev , the former Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, was appointed to head the new Ministry of Oil and Gas. The new ministry will take over a regulatory role of the oil and gas sector; a role which had been largely exercised by the national oil company KazMunaiGas.


"The ministry will relieve KazMunaiGas of inappropriate functions that create a conflict of commercial and state interests. The activities of KazMunaiGas should be purely commercial," Nazarbayev said.


Mynbayev was instrumental in renegotiating the agreement on the development of the giant Kashagan field with a consortium of international oil companies two years ago. Currently, he is spearheading Kazakhstan's efforts to win more advantageous terms at foreign-led oil and gas projects, including the Karachaganak gas condensate field.


Bakhyt Sultanov, the former Minister of Economy and Budget Planning, has been dismissed from his post and replaced by former Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Zhanar Aitzhanova. The Ministry itself has been renamed the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. While its budget planning role has been moved to the Ministry of Finance, the new Ministry will take over responsibilities for trade.


In her earlier role, Aitzhanova was responsible for trade issues, including Kazakhstan's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).


Nazarbayev thanked Sultanov for his work at the Ministry of Economy and Budget Planning and said that he would shortly obtain a new post indicating that more government changes were planned.


The Ministry of Industry and Trade has been reorganized to oversee Kazakhstan's industrial-innovative development and has been renamed the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies. The ministry continues to be headed by Asset Isekeshev who also serves as Deputy Prime Minister.


The Ministry of Culture and Information has been split into two separate ministries - the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Communication and Information.


The Ministry of Culture will be headed by the former Minister of Culture and Information Mukhtar Kul-Mukhammed, while the Ministry of Communication and Information will be led by Askar Zhumagaliyev.

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