(AGI) Astana, May 27 - Natural gas can play a "crucial role" in Kazakhstan's future by launching the transition process towards a low-carbon economy that would help the country on its path towards sustainable development. This was the message that Eni's Chief Upstream Officer, Antonio Vella, expressed to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev during the annual meeting of the Foreign Investor Council (FIC), which gathered in Astana on Friday for it 29th edition. "In Kazakhstan, energy production in 2015 generated by carbon equalled 73 percent, against 25 percent in Europe," Mr Vella noted, stressing the importance of models encouraging energy distribution for a growing population while maintaining the goal of keeping the global temperature increase under 2 degrees Celsius. Projects for gas transmission and distribution, Vella added, "would allow a gradual replacement of fossil carbon and greater utilisation of gas; an important step towards a low-carbon-emission economy". The plenary session in Astana was opened by President Nazarbayev, who is also the FIC's founder and has been president since 1998. "Kazakhstan has the best investment conditions in the region," he stated, noting that around 10 billion dollars in foreign investments contributed to the country's development and its plan for industrialisation and economic recovery: a recovery that President Nazarbayev is committed to leading in the spirit of sustainability and observance of the Paris environmental objectives. Alongside Eni, other important investors in Kazakhstan such as ExxonMobil, Shell, LukOil, ArceloMittal, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, and Bers were present at the meeting. "Kazakhstan is our fourth largest market now from 36 markets where we work," said the head of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Suma Chakrabarti. Last year, he stated, the EBRD invested 120 million euros in Kazakhstan's agricultural and food stuffs production out of a total of 700 million euros. "Thirty foreign investors have announced new production plans in the country in 2016," underlined Kazakhstan's Minister for Investment and Development, Asset Issekeshev. "On our side we facilitate and assist investors." (AGI). .