Karachaganak Kazakhstan press release

IFC Out of Compliance at Karachaganak Oil Field



The International Finance Corporation’s Office of Compliance, Advisor/Ombudsman (CAO) found the IFC out of compliance with safety standards for toxic emissions at the giant Karachaganak Oil and Gas Condensate Field in western Kazakhstan in a newly released audit report. The report found noncompliances in both the stack emissions and in the ambient air quality monitoring programs at Karachaganak. “The CAO finds the monitoring program and the data reported on stack emissions insufficient in order to verify compliance with IFC requirements,” states the CAO report. In addition, the CAO concludes, “neither the ambient air quality monitoring program nor the data reported from the monitoring to date verify compliance with IFC requirements.”

The IFC provided $150 million in loans to the international consortium, Karachaganak Petroleum Operating, BV, which comprises British Gas, ENI/Agip, Chevron, and Russia’s Lukoil. Karachaganak has been polluting the air around the field since 2002, causing severe environmental health problems in the village of Berezovka, located a mere five kilometers from the field. In 2004, village residents filed a complaint with the CAO, claiming that the IFC investment was harming their health because of emissions from the field.

Since 2003, the village of Berezovka has been fighting for relocation away from Karachaganak because of respiratory, nervous system and skin ailments among its residents. Karachaganak’s extremely high levels of hydrogen sulfide have plagued the village, as toxic emissions from the field have been as high as 56,000 tons per year in 2005. The CAO report states that the IFC failed to report hydrogen sulfide data for the stacks, as required in IFC guidelines from 2003-2006.

“Since 2002, the IFC has been violating the right of local citizens to a clean and healthy environment. It has violated Kazakhstani legislation, international standards and its own regulations. The IFC should pay restitution to the residents of Berezovka and others whose health has been damaged by emissions from the Karachaganak field,” said Kate Watters, Executive Director of Crude Accountability, an environmental justice organization working for compensation and relocation for the Berezovka villagers.

“ KPO has been misinforming the public about the state of the environment at Karachaganak for many years,” said Sergey Solyanik of Green Salvation, an Almaty, Kazakhstan environmental nonprofit campaigning for justice for Berezovka.

“Those of us who live in Berezovka have known for many years that the environmental monitors around the field do not record the truth about the toxic impact of the Karachaganak field,” stated Svetlana Anosova, the leader of the Berezovka Initiative Group.

The full audit report is available on the CAO’s website at www.cao-ombudsman.org. For additional information on the environmental and human rights violations at Karachaganak see www.crudeaccountability.org or www.greensalvation.org.


Crude Press Release
April 30, 2008
Contact: Kate Watters

Russian: Sergey Solyanik
+ 7727-253-6256