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Caspian Oil
Tengiz - Plant

This is a bit of a stray from the normal Techno-Gypsy information. Working in Tengiz as an ex-pat means living, all-found, on a camp. The main plus side is the 28/28 rotation most people have. We have no idea about life in Atyrau or other Kazakh cities/oil fields. This is a brief overview for any specific questions please contact the webmaster.



English (American), Russian and Kazakh are the official languages. All TCO site documentation is required in all three languages. Meetings are generally held in English and Russian with translators..



Tenge. Not available outside Kazkahstan. At time of writing the exchange rate is about 240T to the GBP. However, on camp, there is little to spend money on.

On the camps there are cash machines. At TCOV (the old accommodation camp now used mainly for office accommodation) there is an HSBC bank where money can be converted. However - IMPORTANT - you will need your passport AND your original tax certificate (available from your agent or company). A copy of your tax certificate is not sufficient.

The income tax rate in Kazakhstan is a flat 10% BUT if you live in the UK, and work 28/28 and return to the UK for too many leave rotations the UK Inland Revenue will demand your cash.



To/from Atyrau
The main flights to Atyrau with Air Astana leave from Schiphol airport in Amsterdam at 1220 local time. It is a 4 hour 35 minute (approx.) flight arriving around 8pm local time. Arrival times change an hour dependent on BST/GMT. Flights are avaiable all days except Monday.

Flights to Amsterdam from Atyrau leave at 0835 local time in winter - earlier in summer - and arrive at 0935.

For those with a long wait for ongoing flights there is the opportunity to go into Amsterdam for lunch. Amsterdam Central Station is 10 minutes from Schiphol by train. Rembrandt Plein (No. 4 tram from Central Station) is recommended or In de Wildeman (see links page).

Transport from Atyrau to Tengiz is the day after arrival in Atyrau. Accommodation is provided at the TCO Transit Hotel (affectionately known as Gulag Transit) just by the airport. This is not a comfortable place and don't expect to get much sleep.

The transport to Tengiz takes two forms.

For those lucky enough to comply with the rules there is the flight by company plane. In recent years the number of company flights has been reduced so fewer and fewer contractors are permitted to fly. This takes around 35 minutes.

For the majority there is the train.

The bus to the train station leaves the TCO Transit Hotel at 0445 (dependent on the time of year). The train leaves at 0600 and arrives in Kulsary (the nearest town to Tengiz) between 1000 and 1200. There is then a one and a half hour bus ride to Tengiz.
On the home journey, the bus leaves Tengiz at 1345. The train leaves Kulsary around 1600/1630 and arrives at the Atyrau station between 2030 and 2130 and there is a 20 minute bus ride to the Transit Hotel. Arrival is between 2100 and 2200.

The trains used to have bunks but have been "upgraded" to have semi-reclining seats designed for the least comfort possible. New, more comforatble trains are promised ....... soon.

Transport to and from the Plant from Shanyrak accommodation camp is by regular bus and takes between 25 and 40 minutes dependent on route.



The main camps are:

TCOV (TengizChevrOil Village) - was closed for accommodation some years ago BUT A, D and B blocks are being refurbished to house those working on the major 2012 turnaround and, possibly, for the Future Growth (3rd Generation) exdpansion.

There are 4 D blocks - these are two storey barrack-like buildings with 50 rooms per floor. Each floor has 50 single rooms, 4 shower rooms (2 male, 2 female) and 2 "kitchens". Each shower room has 4 showers, 3 loos, 3 sinks and 3 urinals. Each single room is equipped with one single bed, one easy chair, one desk and chair, a drawer unit, two wardrobes, a fridge or fridge/freezer and a TV. For double rooms - 2 beds, 2 bedside tables, two chairs, one desk, etc. None of the rooms have sinks. Laundry is collected 3 times per week and returned next day.
A and B Blocks are similar to D blocks but older.
According to information received turnaround accommodation will be in shared rooms.

Shanyrak Village was built for those working on the Second Generation Plant project (SGP) and is about 6 years old. All personnel were moved from TCOV to Shanyrak. Each of 5 blocks are built with a central hub containing the dining area and communal areas (bar and gym) off which there are 6 arms containing accommodation. Accommodation for ex-pats comprises a single room with en-suite shower room.

The RV (Rotational Village) is not owned or operated by TCO. This comprises apartments and, generally, non-western ex-pats and personnel working for sub-contractors live here.


Medical Assistance

TCOV has a very well equipped clinic and qualified medical staff on hand. The clinic deals with most minor illnesses and injuries. For more major complaints ex-pats are Med-evaced to Helsinki. This system seems to work very well. Medical insurance is generally covered by your employer.

There is also a dentist available for emergency dental repairs.



Truly awful and very, very unhealthy. Carbohydrates are cheap. Regular cost cutting exercises and the sinking dollar exchange rate reduce the quality further as time goes on. Multi-vitamins particularly including zinc and vitamin C are recommended, also vitamin D3 supplements for winter.

Breakfast is served in the "Dome" canteens and a take-away is available. On TCOV a sit down lunch is served in the North Canteen with filled rolls/"salads" available as takeaway from the South Canteen. Dinner is served in the Domes with a take-away service available. Lunch is avaiable at the plant - sit down only - and worse than TCOV food.

Fresh fruit is difficult to get hold of (other than one ancient apple or orange at the takeaway breakfast). There is an unofficial local"market" in the TCOV car park. Most Domes have a shop which has varying amounts of food stuffs dependent on availability and "Tings" shop just off the TCOV camp generally has more variety. The shops sell basics such as soap and toothpaste and so on at phenomenally inflated prices. "Tings" also sells alcohol - beer, wine and spirits. (See alcohol rules in the Entertainment section).



Not a lot.

There is a well equipped gym, an indoor swimming pool and sauna, 4 outdoor tennis courts, a baseball/football (soccer) field and a basketball court at TCOV. Shanyrak has further gyms and tennis courts. Bear in mind that outdoor sports are limited to summer only.
There is a general TV package avaiable on TVs but it is extremely limited. The cinema on Shanyrak recently re-opened.

Each dome has a bar - however, there are drink rules in place.

The official TCO rules regarding alcohol are that a blood count of zero is required during working hours and no more than 0.04mg/ml of blood off duty. The penalty is immediate sacking. The result can be difficulty in obtaining a Kazakh work visa in the future. People being caught is a regular occurrence, however, it isn't as bad as it was since the bonus paid to the security guards for each person caught was scrapped.


Cultural Note


Tengiz has long had regulations in place to "respect" national personnel. In recent years there have been increasing moves toward nationalisation of most positions. Sadly, we have reliable information that the "respect" regulations are being used to this end. Basically, we understand that, if any complaint is made against an ex-pat that ex-pat will be "let go".

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Last modified: May 01, 2011