The Nobel brothers’ legacy in Kazakhstan- 100 years


Every year Kazakhstan capital becomes a place of grandiose events. Prominent politicians and bright representatives of the academia world visit Astana to attend Astana Economic Forum. What attracts these biggest experts of modernity?

One of the topics of VII Astana Economic Forum held on May 21st-23rd 2014 is called “The Nobel brothers’ legacy in Kazakhstan-100 years”.  This has not been chosen accidentally: just a few years of its functioning AEF has managed to form a solid circle of participants and partners comprised from prominent politicians and eminent scientists. For instance, two-three Nobel laureates attend one of the most authoritative business platforms in the world every year – Boao Forum for Asia held recently in China for the 14th year consecutively. At the same time, Astana Economic Forum that started off as an experiment platform of global level in 2008 was attended by 17 Nobel laureates. However, not only this feature distinguishes the Kazakhstan forum. Traditions of building economic and political ties and building socially oriented business model have been laid for years in the Kazakh steppe at the origins of which was a founder of prestigious global award Alfred Nobel.  Right 102 years ago legacy of the Nobel brothers was laid in Kazakhstan: in 1912 in mediation of the partnership with “BraNobel” belonging to the Nobels JSC oil and industry “Emba” was established. According to a board member of the Nobel family and co-founder and trustee of the Charitable Foundation Gustav Nobel, Alfred Nobel participated in the drilling of oil wells at a remote section Karashungul in 1899. Here we need to tell you about this family whose life is closely tied with history of Kazakhstan. In the end of XIX century the world has just started discovering potential of “black gold” imprisoned in the soils. In the number of oil empires of those times- the USA, France, England- many countries had a will to join, especially Russia. In 1879 sons of Sweden inventor and industrialist Emanuel Nobel, settled down in St Petersburg, founded “Nobel Brothers Oil Production Partnership” (in short “BraNobel”). It was one of the pioneering companies of “Big Baku Oil” of XIX century. “BraNobel”, according to experts, differed from other companies because it has widely used the latest achievements in science and technology in their activities and implemented socially oriented business model. Nobel brothers were the pioneers in many fields. They were they first to build tanker fleet, tankers, tank park, oil tanks for railway transport.

As PhD, Professor of Kazakh-British Technical University Murat Abdirov notes in his article “Nobel in Kazakhstan”, owing to advanced technical and technological coverage and to organizing management “BraNobel” has become the biggest oil enterprise of Russia.

The “Nobel Brothers Oil Production Partnership” jointly with other Russian enterprises has actively started working in the Ural-Emba oil region in the Western Kazakhstan, and first oil gusher hi in 1899; industrial oil production started in 1911. As one of the brother said, they included this region into an orbit of their family business being tired from worries of “kerosene, oil and other tortures of Baku underground kingdom”

According to the archives of Central State Archive office of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the “Nobel Brothers Oil Production Partnership” has paid considerable attention to all aspects of oil exploration, production and transportation in the Ural-Emba region. Only in 1913-1914 the company has spent around 600 000 of rubles from 2 m rubles for oil exploration.

The Nobels ran their business in Kazakhstan according to the European standards: rationally, economically, effectively, without extra costs and luxury and at the same time they have carried out their social responsibilities in bilateral contracts on time. Staff was receiving allowances for their children’s secondary and high education. The company has strictly kept an eye on physical health and education of their staff.

The Nobels have also run charitable activities allowing large sums of money for the development of education in the Ural region, has provided fiscal support to their workers who joined the military forces in the war; company staff has collected presents for soldiers to send it to war front. Social responsibility of businesswas not just beautiful words for the Nobels, they have walked the talk.

In 2013 at VI Astana Economic Forum the Nobel brothers have announced about the opening of new oil company “Nobel Oil” in Kazakhstan aimed at oil mining and reviving philanthropy traditions in the Republic, opening of scientific innovations centres in the universities of Kazakhstan.

Everyone knows the story that has already become anecdotal about Alfred Nobel’s will who did not wish to be remembered as the innovator of dynamite, weapons of mass destruction. Out of 33 m of Swedish crones earned at the expense of innovation of smokeless powder, he has bequeathed 31m on to establishment of a foundation for the annual awards for scientific achievements in physics, chemistry, biology and medicine, literature and peace. He has achieved to make his dream come true; nowadays there are few people who remember how Alfred Nobel gained popularity, but his name is compared to the names of hundreds of prominent people who have contributed to the development of sciences and education.

That is why it is not surprising that Nobel descendants, after a century, are ready again to develop philanthropy traditions in Kazakhstan, support bold ideas and solutions, implement advanced global experience and invite scientists caring for creation and search of new ways out of crisis. This will be confirmed at regular dialogue of leading world experts at the biggest dialogue platform of VII Astana Economic Forum.

You can find moreinformation, VII AEF and II WAC agenda at



  1. Kashagan is a carbonate platform of the Late Devonian to middle Carboniferous age. The reef is about 75km long and 35km across, with a narrow neck joining two broader platforms (Kashagan East and Kashagan West).

    The top of the reservoir is 4.5km below sea level and the oil column extends for more than one kilometre. The seal is middle Permian shale and late Permian salt.

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