ASTANA—The Kazakh capital of Astana is searching for a global PR firm to support its upcoming World Expo in 2017.

The Holmes Report understands that Astana Expo-2017, the government company behind the event, is currently in talks with a handful of global PR networks regarding the assignment.

The 2017 Expo is a smaller 'specialized' event, compared to larger 'universal' expos such as Shanghai 2010 and Milan 2015. Accordingly, the theme for Expo 2017 is 'future energy', with a specific focus on sustainability.

The event is expected to serve as a significant advertisement for oil-rich Astana, which became the Kazakh capital in 1998 and has since benefited from one of the world's largest building projects. Oil money, in particular, has been spent on numerous new buildings, as part of an effort to position Astana as the centre of Central Asia.

 It is understood that the public relations assignment will aim to "put Astana and Kazakhstan on the map", as one source described it, focusing on local and international media. The budget is expected to reach the high six-figures.

Representatives from Astana Expo-2017 did not respond to request for comment as this story went live.