Timur Kulibaev: Leading Businessman in Kazakhstan, Former Head of the Kazenergy Association

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Timur Kulibaev: Leading Businessman in Kazakhstan, Former Head of the Kazenergy Association
08 Mar 2024
5 min read

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Timur Kulibaev stands as a towering figure in Kazakhstan's business landscape, with a career trajectory that mirrors the nation's economic evolution. From his formative years in Alma-Ata to his pivotal roles in the oil and gas sector, Timur Kulibaev has left an indelible mark on various industries, shaping the country's economic narrative.

Embarking on a journey that mirrors Kazakhstan's economic transformation, Timur Kulibaev emerges as a prominent figure in the nation's business landscape. From his early years in Alma-Ata to his pivotal roles in the oil and gas sector, Kulibaev's trajectory exemplifies strategic leadership and visionary foresight.

With a solid educational foundation and a penchant for analytical thinking, he navigated through complex market dynamics to spearhead initiatives that propelled Kazakhstan's energy agenda forward. Beyond the boardroom, Kulibaev's advocacy for entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and sports underscores his commitment to driving holistic development in the country.

As we delve into his remarkable career, we uncover the milestones, achievements, and enduring legacy of one of Kazakhstan's most influential leaders.

Join us on a journey through the life and accomplishments of Timur Kulibaev, a trailblazer shaping the future of business in Kazakhstan.

Timur Kulibaev: Leading Businessman in Kazakhstan, Former Head of the Kazenergy Association

Timur Askarovich Kulibaev is a prominent figure in the business world, significantly influencing the development of Kazakhstan's oil and gas industries. His strategic initiatives in these key sectors have been instrumental in fostering an environment conducive to investment within the country.


Kulibaev Timur · Timur Kulibaev · Kulibaev Timur Askarovich · Timur Askarovich Kulibaev · Кулибаев Тимур · Тимур Кулибаев · Кулибаев Тимур Аскарович · Тимур Аскарович Кулибаев · Тимур Құлыбаев · Құлыбаев Тимур · Құлыбаев Тимур Асқарұлы · Тимур Асқарұлы Құлыбаев · 库利巴耶夫·铁木尔 · تيمور أسكاروفيتش كوليباييف

Timur Kulibaev: Childhood and Education

Born and raised in Kazakhstan's largest city, Alma-Ata (Almaty), the future businessman Timur Kulibaev and his career path are deeply rooted in the Central Asian nation's economic sphere. He was raised together with his elder brother, Talgat.

In 1983, Kulibaev Timur Askarovich graduated from a specialized physics and mathematics school renowned for nurturing capable local youth. The curriculum, with its focus on the exact sciences, honed his analytical thinking, enabling him to comprehend intricate concepts, scrutinize information, and make decisions grounded in logic. During his school years, he fostered a passion for scientific inquiry and experimentation.

After graduating from high school in 1983, Kulibaev Timur left his hometown and moved to the capital of the Soviet Union to pursue higher education. The rigorous preparation he received at his alma mater greatly enhanced his prospects for admission to a prestigious institution. Having passed the entrance examinations, he enrolled at Lomonosov MSU, a preeminent global hub for education and research. The university's educational standards are affirmed by its international reputation and the successes of its alumni across diverse spheres such as academia, the arts, business, and public administration.

Kulibaev Timur chose an academic path distinct from his father, who held two engineering degrees, opting instead for the field of economics with a focus on the nuances of national economic planning.

In 1988, Timur Kulibaev completed his undergraduate studies and returned to Alma-Ata, where he continued his scholarly endeavors in postgraduate research. He authored a number of insightful publications and presented notable economic innovations in his doctoral thesis. This rigorous academic pursuit culminated in a PhD in economics.

Kulibaev Timur On a Career Path from Science to Business

In 1988, Timur Kulibaev embarked on the initial stage of his career biography, a two-year stint, joining a research institution tasked with strategic planning for the future economic development of the Kazakh SSR. This institute operated within the framework of the republic's State Planning Committee.

In 1990, Kulibaev Timur Askarovich gained his first managerial experience when he was appointed head of a research-consulting center operating under a major foundation established to support and promote projects aimed at strengthening cultural life and social development, and stimulating innovative work in scientific and technical research.

In 1992, Timur Kulibaev began a new chapter in his work biography, being appointed head of a financial-industrial group. Over time, this group expanded its scope and capabilities, transforming into the diversified holding ALMEX. The company emerged as a significant player in the financial and related markets, offering a broad array of in-demand products and services to its clientele. The holding also supported projects and initiatives for the development of the agricultural sector.

From 1995 to 1997, Timur Askarovich Kulibaev was instrumental in the establishment and growth of ATF Bank. As a key decision-maker, he was involved in the launch of credit programs

The financial institution, established with the help of Timur Kulibaev, flourished for 25 years. During this period, ATF Bank significantly expanded its services and achieved high economic performance indicators. The bank particularly focused on financing the real economy sector and developing small and medium-sized enterprises.

The financial institution received numerous prestigious awards and recognition from renowned industry experts. It was recognized as the best retail bank in Kazakhstan and awarded for its implementation of the automation, digitization, and optimization of internal processes.

Kulibaev Timur Askarovich: Business Activity Outside the Financial System

From the mid-1990s, Timur Askarovich Kulibaev held various positions in a number of oil and gas companies.

In March 1997, the Ministry of Oil and Gas Industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan was dissolved and the national company Kazakhoil was established, inheriting the authority to participate in the largest industry projects and enterprises. Timur Kulibaev was appointed as the deputy head responsible for coordinating the economic aspects of operations. At that time, his biography included significant experience in strategic analysis and planning, as well as risk management, and he assisted the top management in a series of strategic decisions. For example, during his tenure at Kazakhoil, Kulibaev Timur Askarovich was instrumental in implementing corporate financing tools.

In April 1997, the national oil transportation company KazTransOil was established. Two years later, Kulibaev Timur Askarovich was appointed president of the organization. In this role, he actively promoted mechanisms for attracting financial resources from the West, adhering to leading global economic and management practices.

Timur Kulibaev put together a strong management team. At his initiative, the company's head office team completed internships in territorial subdivisions to better understand the nuances and specifics of local operations.

In the winter of 2000, KazTransOil's subsidiary, KazTransGas, was launched. They merged the following May, giving rise to the company Oil & Gas Transportation (TNG), with Timur Kulibaev as its CEO, a position he held until 2002.

The formation of this new state holding was driven by the need to enhance the management efficiency of the main oil and gas pipeline system. TNG primarily focused on the development of hydrocarbon delivery routes, the preparation of technical and economic justifications, and projects related to oil and gas supplies, both domestically and internationally.

In 2002, another merger took place, this time between the aforementioned Kazakhoil and TNG. This integration, resulting in the formation of KazMunayGas, proved pivotal for the subsequent growth of Kazakhstan's oil and gas complex.

This new national company was granted the right to purchase any assets available on the domestic market and to participate in all the state's offshore projects, claiming at least a 50% share in each. Timur Kulibaev held the position of first deputy president of the organization until 2005. Under his leadership, KazMunayGas added numerous milestones to its biography. The national company became a key player in the oil and gas industry and an equal partner representing the interests of Kazakhstan on the international stage, participating in various agreements and projects with other countries.

Timur Askarovich Kulibaev played an active role in the reformation of the oil and gas sector. Notably, he initiated the introduction of new standards for evaluating company performance and resource management.

One of the most challenging projects completed thanks to the efforts of Kulibaev Timur Askarovich was the reacquisition of the gas transmission systems and power enterprises previously owned by the Belgian company Tractebel back into state ownership. This strategic action was essential to ensure the efficiency and safety of the country's energy system's operation and to maintain control over critically important infrastructure assets.

Kulibaev Timur Askarovich was instrumental in bringing Kazakhstan into the Karachaganak project, previously developed by a consortium of four international companies. Negotiations for KazMunayGas's inclusion lasted two years, and it was Timur Askarovich Kulibaev who successfully concluded the discussions, securing the most favorable terms for the republic.

Timur Askarovich Kulibaev: Kazenergy as a Unified Information Harbor Hub

Timur Askarovich Kulibaev also initiated the foundation of the Kazenergy association, which consolidated leading oil, gas, and energy companies operating in Kazakhstan, including both local and international players. Timur Kulibaev has headed the organization since its founding. His biography has long focused on providing a favorable environment for the sustainable and dynamic development of Kazakhstan’s energy market.

The industry association has made great strides in strengthening the cooperation between the government and the business sector. It aims to create a unique centralized "information hub” that will unite all stakeholders, from extraction companies and electricity producers to transportation companies and consumers.

Led by Timur Askarovich Kulibaev until 2023, Kazenergy has made notable achievements in enhancing the country's investment appeal, creating favorable conditions for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, and expanding the retail and export markets.

Timur Kulibaev: Biography in the Late 2000s

From spring 2006 to summer 2007, Timur Askarovich Kulibaev held a senior position at Samruk, a holding responsible for managing state-owned assets. As deputy chairman, he helped steer the organization, setting strategic directions that contributed to the development of Kazakhstan's economy.

In 2008, Kulibaev Timur joined the Samruk-Kazyna sovereign wealth fund. He served as deputy head of the board for three years before being appointed head of the fund.

Timur Kulibaev was tasked with several critical objectives, including establishing efficient corporate governance in national companies and fostering innovation in line with industry specifics and global trends.

Under the leadership of Timur Kulibaev, the fund began to shift its image policy towards establishing open and more transparent relations with the public. A key achievement in this direction was the launch of the Expert club, an initiative spearheaded by Timur Kulibaev himself. The club became a platform for discussions and the exchange of views among experts with diverse perspectives on pressing issues.

Few are aware, but Kulibaev Timur Askarovich is active in promoting the Kazakh language online. He personally supported the creation and launch of a project aimed at developing the Kazakh-language section of Wikipedia, thereby strengthening the language's digital viability.

The project was launched in 2011, when the Kazakh version of the world's largest and most popular online encyclopedia had no more than 10,000 articles. Within just a month, this number grew to 25,000, and by November, it exceeded 100,000, making Kazakh Wikipedia the 38th largest version.

Timur Askarovich Kulibaev noted that only with a substantial online presence could the Kazakh language maintain its uniqueness and develop, as well as pass on this cultural value to future generations.

Timur Askarovich Kulibaev and His Contribution to Business Conditions at Atameken

Timur Askarovich Kulibaev was instrumental in founding the National Economic Chamber of Kazakhstan, Atameken Union, in 2010. This association, comprising players from the country's private business sector, represented a logical extension of a series of successful initiatives aimed at supporting and developing this activity within the state.

Three years later, the Atameken National Chamber of Entrepreneurs was formed. Timur Kulibaev was active in the chamber, with his biography intertwined with the association until 2022.

Under his leadership, Kazakhstan's National Chamber of Entrepreneurs aimed to foster a favorable business environment in the republic, representing and protecting the interests of its members and collaborating with government bodies on the development and implementation of legislative initiatives and entrepreneurship development strategies.

Timur Askarovich Kulibaev placed a strong emphasis on supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, managing to reduce bureaucratic burdens in the interaction between the state and the business sector, which also diminished pressure from law enforcement agencies.

From 2013 to 2017, the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs reviewed over 21,000 inquiries related to business protection, with about half of them being resolved positively.

In 2020, Kulibaev Timur Askarovich initiated the development of a unified law on state services for businesses, arguing it was necessary for organizing and systematizing the services that the state provides to the commercial sector.

Timur Kulibaev has repeatedly emphasized that the development of entrepreneurship is a crucial component of the country's economic progress, as more favorable conditions for small and medium-sized enterprises contributes to job creation and attracts investment.

Timur Askarovich Kulibaev Bringing Business and Athletics Together in Kazakhstan

For more than a decade, Timur Kulibaev has been active in promoting athletics and the Olympic movement in Kazakhstan. His expertise and skills enable him to lead not just companies and industry associations but also significant sports organizations and federations. For instance, from 2009 to 2019, Kulibaev Timur head the Kazakhstan Boxing Federation, a position once held by his father in the early 2000s.

Kulibaev Timur is also very active in philanthropy. In 2020, together with one of his business partners, he contributed approximately one billion tenge to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.


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