Refined Relations: Chinese refinery becomes Kyrgyzstan's 2nd largest taxpayer
China and Kyrgyzstan have cooperated on various projects under the Belt and Road Initiative. An oil refinery -- one of China's biggest investments in Kyrgyzstan – is said to have greatly contributed to income and employment. CGTN's Wu Guoxiu paid a visit to the plant and brings us this report.
Two hours away from the capital Bishkek is China's largest investment project in Kyrgyzstan -- the Zhongda China Petrol Company.
The refinery was born from a 500-million-dollar backing by a Chinese company. It processes crude oil imported by rail from Russia and Kazakhstan, as well as a small amount from local Kyrgyzstan.
SHI JIANGUO, DEPUTY MANAGER ZHONGDA CHINA PETROL COMPANY "In 2008, our manager found that this country didn't have a modern oil refinery. Then, through contact with the government, we decided to build this factory. Since it began operating in 2014, it has helped stabilize local oil prices significantly easing their troubles with oil usage."
WU GUOXIU KARA BALTA, KYRGYZSTAN "This Chinese invested refinery paid the Kyrgyz government 43 million US dollars last year, being the country's second largest taxpayer. It's also one of the nation's largest employers, hiring over 2000 locals."
Over 80 percent of the employees are locals, including technicians. The company used to send staff to China for techniques and language training. Twenty-seven-year-old Esen studied in China for a year before working on safety maintenance.
SALBAROV ESEN, SAFETY MAINTENANCE ZHONGDA CHINA PETROL COMPANY "I work here because this plant is very close to my home, and the pay is very good. I check on the equipment every two hours to see if the pressure levels, oil levels, and all the gauges show everything is stable and working well."
The company's refined oil products make up almost 40 percent of the local market. They say it has helped reduce the average price of gasoline by almost half. Wu Guoxiu, CGTN, Kara-Balta, Kyrgyzstan.