Kazakhstan, specifically Atyrau – experiences?

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  • Kazakhstan, specifically Atyrau – experiences?
  • I’ve got through the first round of CV binning for a job in Kazakhstan and now have to provide passport details, visa application, expected income, all that jazz. Just wondering if anyone had any experience of living there, as it’s a residential position rather than offshore 28/28.
    Also have a wife and infant son to think about. It’s going to be for about 2 years just until we pay off the Edinburgh Council robdogs, which is another story entirely.


    My former colleague, a Muscovite, spent a number of years there in the 1990s. He was remarkably bitter about it. I’ve visited Kazakhstan a few times for work, like Almaty and speak Russian, but I’d find it a hard sell, let alone my OH. I think I read about some minor disorder there among the workers a few months ago but I remember thinking there must have been a significant back story that wasn’t given in the report, and I may be confusing it with somewhere else.

    On the other hand, I wasn’t be paid oodles of cash, I visited in the pre-proper broadband era and everyone’s tastes are different. I think Trail Rat is STW’s resident Central Asian oil hole correspondent so hopefully he will be here soon!


    I think mugsys_m8 works out that way. Might be worth getting a message to him.

    Hmmm. Can we PM on here? Or even search for members?


    Hi TFO, I’m currently working in Aktobe Kazakhstan on about a 4 on, 2 off week rotation for a Canadian company (oil & gas). My wife and two very young boys are back at home in Hants, UK so can’t really comment on the whole dragging the family out here thing.

    The wellbeing of my wife and boys is more important than any amount of money. At a push I would drag them to Almaty, KZ (like Paris but with more smog, less green space, more mafia). But not Aktobe and certainly not Balkanabat, Turkmenistan where I was before. Atyrau is also a coastal town (like Balkanabat) and meant to be a little backwards/bleak.

    Try to get around this be volunteering to work 4 on, 2 off including weekends. Volunteer to fly economy, Should make sense for all especially if you can answer emails from home etc, if that’s feasible with your work.

    Good luck!


    As above – I’ve only passed through the area, but it’s not a very welcoming part of the world, and it’s certainly a real shift from what we’re used to in western Europe. You could probably manage it, but wife and kids is pushing it, IMHO.
    That said, 2 years is a long time for a position if they’re not with you.
    Tricky decision – but as above, perhaps it’s a negotiating point.


    As above, I think you could handle it, though maybe not your young family. Kazakhstan is worlds ahead of Turkmenistan, but still way backwards compared to Europe. Men get to behave like our grandfathers did – a local woman reprimanded me for washing up a cup today in the office “it is womens’ work” she said – amazing! FWIW I finished washing it.

    The car is king. Don’t even dream of bringing a bike here. Think Mad Max II.

    Forgot to mention other points that helped me swing a rotation out of the UK as opposed to residency:

    – Offered to work for half the day rate when home.

    – I mentioned flying economy. See the Air Astana website for a direct flight from Heathrow to Almaty on Saturdays. Dirt cheap and surprisingly good/empty (lie across four seats most times).

    Other points of interest:

    – Do not fly SCAT airways (make sure not in yr contract) – see Jan crash in news (another one)

    – Apparently the American ambassador to KZ has his wife and ten kids (!!) holed up in a massive house in Almaty, all paid for. Pimpy!

    – Sauna culture is out of hand (your wife will not like it put it that way)

    Oh, and they f*****g hate Borat!

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    My brother and his family lived in Almaty for a few years. Loved it. His kids were young teen/pre-teen at that point. Didn’t stray too far from the city though.

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