woman in hardhat and winter coat on platform


The following information and pictures are provided to help employees who are considering an assignment see what it is like to work and live in Atyrau, Kazakhstan.
Atyrau is located in Western Kazakhstan on the Northeast side of the Caspian Sea.
The weather in Atyrau ranges from hot summers (100°F) to cold winters (-40°F).
Air Astana is presently the main carrier that flies into the Atyrau Airport (airport code is GUW), with Aeroflot as an additional option. The Atyrau Airport is developing, but is still quite small. Frequency of flights and destinations are somewhat limited. The most common and direct routes are through Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Moscow, Almaty and Astana. Upon arrival for the mandatory pre-assignment visit, a company representative will greet new expats and escort them to their accommodation. The pre-assignment trip finalizes the job offer process and allows the potential residents to see what is available locally to help prepare for shipment planning.
Employees and their families live in several different housing complexes in Atyrau. These housing options include Dostyk Village, Chagala (townhomes), and Ardager (apartments).

Tengizchevroil headquarters is a modern, nine-story building on the European side of the Ural River, just a short walk from many other city facilities.


Dostyk (Kazakh word for friendship) Village is a gated community on the European side of the Ural River and is home to about 90 families. Dostyk has two director's homes and 86 two-story townhomes that have four bedrooms, living and dining areas, a small yard and a small garage. The priority for Dostyk Village is families with school-aged children. Amenities include fitness center, gymnasium, recreation center, indoor tennis courts, outdoor swimming pool and indoor lap pool. Flooring is carpet (upstairs only) and heated tile. Townhomes are completely furnished with standard furniture except for lamps, small appliances, televisions or decorative items. Townhomes have gas stoves, electric ovens and treated water. Several areas in the townhomes are wired for 110 volt and 50-cycle electricity including the kitchen and bathrooms. Other sockets are 220 volt for the two-prong, European-type plugs.

Employees on resident assignment may also be housed in fully furnished townhomes in the Chagala complex. Chagala houses include 2 refrigerators, microwave, washing machine, as well as daily laundry and cleaning service and internet. There is no dryer provided. The voltage for these houses are 220v. Employees and their dependents living in Chagala have full access to Dostyk's community facilities.

TCO leases furnished apartments at Ardager Residence Building in Atyrau. The apartments are located across the street from Dostyk Village. Ardager has a gym and a swimming pool that can be freely accessed by residents. Resident expats will be assigned either a two-bedroom apartment and or a three-bedroom apartment. All apartments provide daily laundry and cleaning services, internet/wi-fi, satellite TV and trash pick-up/removal at no additional cost to residents. Employees and their dependents living in apartments have full access to Dostyk's community facilities.

support services

Atyrau is one of the fastest developing cities in Kazakhstan. While still fairly remote, the expanding community and evolving Kazakh economy position Atyrau for continued development.
Kazakhstan is largely a cash economy, so most commerce is done in Kazakhstan Tenge. There are several ATM machines in Atyrau where expats can use their credit or debit cards to obtain Tenge. Most Chevron secondees use the ATM machines in the TCO headquarters building where one can obtain American dollars or Tenge. There are many banks in Atyrau, but it is advised that employees continue to do as much banking as possible online, through ATMs or at their point of origin. Many expatriates obtain ATM or credit cards that do not charge international service or non-network ATM fees.
Atyrau is a safe and secure place to live. The biggest threat to safety and security is traffic related. This risk is mitigated through trained drivers providing transportation in a variety of TCO vehicles. TCO expats resident in Atyrau are not allowed to drive.

Tengizchevroil secondees and their family members obtain TCO badges which allow them to have access to headquarters and Dostyk Village facilities. Limited numbers of guests are allowed into Dostyk Village after they are registered by employees or their dependents. Security staff checks cars entering and leaving the compound and office. 
Company housing is equipped with phone and data lines. Employees can arrange for internet service through a growing number of providers in Dostyk, and is pre-installed in Chagala and Ardager. For international calling needs, most residents use phone cards and voice-over internet protocol technology. Mobile phones are readily available in Kazakhstan. Minutes need to be purchased separately and service does not include voice mail.

Mail service is available through Chevron pouch mail service and takes on average one to two weeks. Residents can receive up to 10 pieces of flat, non-paper mail such as books and CDs per month. The address is PO Box 6066-Atyrau Pouch, San Ramon, California, 94583. Other items can be sent through DHL service at the resident's own risk and cost. 
Dostyk Village has a good library for the school where children can check out books and there is also a used book exchange area in the club house where residents can drop off and pick up books.
  • Clinic: Urgent care is available 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week by an expatriate doctor at the Riverside Doctors Office located in Dostyk Village. Prospekt Medical Caspian (PMC) is another option frequented by Chevron expatriates.  Appointments can be made for minor illness and routine medical care like vaccinations and check-ups. However, your annual medical exams still need to be administered by Chevron medical staff in your home country.
  • Pharmacy: There are several pharmacies around Atyrau, but it is recommended that over the counter needs and prescriptions are filled at the point of origin and on annual home leave. Prescriptions should be brought in on your person with a copy of your prescription.
  • Emergencies: Medical evacuations by plane to the closest appropriate location are arranged for serious medical emergencies. 
Like other countries with emerging economies, pet ownership is not common in Kazakhstan. Therefore, support services for pets like veterinarians, kennels and pet supply stores are almost non-existent. While company policy on reimbursement for transport of one pet remains valid in Atyrau for long-term residents, it is highly discouraged.


The Dostyk American International School in Dostyk Village is provided for students in pre-K through grade eight. It is operated by International Schools Services under contract to Tengizchevroil and is accredited by Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The school provides an American-based curriculum and requires fluency in the English language as one of its criteria for admission as all curriculums are taught in English. Children above eighth grade usually go to boarding school.

Four-year-olds and older will attend Dostyk International American School. In addition, QSI International School of Atyrau is a non-profit institution that has an early childhood education program. Many families also choose local pre-school options for their children.
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There are several supermarkets in Atyrau and some outdoor markets that specialize in fresh produce. Options for general needs shopping like clothes, shoes, kid's toys and sports equipment are growing and continue to expand in available selection.

recreational facilities

There are recreational activities available in and out of Dostyk Village. Dostyk Village has indoor and outdoor pools, a multi-purpose gym, exercise facilities, indoor and outdoor tennis courts and walking paths. The Dostyk Clubhouse has a game room, lounge, restaurant and bar.

You can find traditional Kazakh entertainment ranging from sporting activities, drama and musical variety shows. The Ural River provides entertainment in the winter with ice skating and ice fishing; and in the summer with kayaks and boating. There are a few local bowling alleys, billiard rooms and video game arcades. Atyrau has an art and a natural history museum that both have frequently evolving exhibitions. Short excursions outside Atyrau to archeological digs are also a must see.

Atyrau residents have a tradition of organizing a variety of activities. For the kids, there are Friday night movies, Saturday sports and scouts. For adults, there is volleyball, bunko, book club, mahjong, circuit training, canasta, TGIF, cycling, running, volunteering and many other activities.

There are several bars and night clubs in Atyrau that have local entertainment and many international celebrations like St. Patrick's Day and theme nights. 
There is a growing list of good restaurants with many different types of food available such as Italian, American, Mexican, Indian and other Asian foods. A small, but expanding list of restaurants will deliver to homes or apartments.

summary of expatriate living

Main religions in Atyrau are Muslim and Christian. There is a Russian Orthodox Church, Catholic Church and Muslim Mosque all close to Dostyk Village and the headquarters. There is a Christian fellowship on Sundays and a few Bible studies in Dostyk Village.
Tengizchevroil provides all expat transportation as seconded employees are not allowed to drive in Kazakhstan. There is a fleet of vans and SUVs that are available to secondees and their families 24-hours-a-day by calling or emailing TCO transportation services. Expats are not permitted to ride in local taxis.

Most TCO residents go to work on a company bus that runs every 20-30 minutes from the residences to headquarters in the morning, at lunchtime and in the evening every weekday. 
Russian and Kazakh are spoken in Atyrau and many Kazakhs and Russians living in Atyrau speak English. The company offers 80 hours of language training in Russian for new expats.
While household help is available in Atyrau, the practice of having day maids or nannies is not widely abundant or practiced in Kazakhstan. There are a few dry cleaners and seamstresses in Atyrau. Other services can be arranged through recommendations.
Dress in Kazakhstan is typically Western-style clothing. Those moving to Atyrau need to bring clothing and outerwear for a long and potentially harsh winter as well as a hot summer. Employees traveling to Tengiz can be equipped with winter coats and appropriate boots if needed. 
Air Astana and Aeroflot are the main airlines flying to Atyrau. International connections are available through Amsterdam, Moscow and Istanbul. Domestic flights are available seven days a week to Almaty and Astana. TCO taxis will pick up expats at the Atyrau airport. It takes about 15 minutes to make the trip to the housing areas from the airport.
For more information or specific questions about Atyrau, please contact TCO Expatriate HR.
There are many volunteer opportunities in the village and local Atyrau community. Inside the village there is always an opportunity to help with one of the many special events or regular activities. Outside of the village, many employees and their families have gotten involved in teaching or practicing English with locals and with charity projects.
Kazakhstan has a rich culture, with influences from both the East and the West. Learn more about Kazakh culture here.