Karachaganak Accounts for Up to 40 Percent of All Harmful Waste in Western Kazakhstan

Gaisagali Eraly

Kazinform Information Agency
April 29, 2005

Nearly 160 thousand tons of harmful solid and liquid industrial wastes have accumulated to date on the territory of the Karachaganak Oil and Gas Condensate Field. Consequently, almost 40 percent of Western Kazakhstan Oblast’s residual waste is located at the field, reports Kazinform.

Meanwhile, in accordance with the signed Production Sharing Agreement, Karachaganak Petroleum Operating B.V. (KPO) should have installed a complex in 2001 to neutralize and utilize the industrial wastes. However, this obligation has yet to be fulfilled.

The accumulation of harmful wastes has an extremely negative impact on the environment, in particular on the environmental status of the Ural River. In the first quarter of this year, the concentration of iron in the Ural’s water increased more than 6 percent; zinc increased more than 2.5 percent; and oil products increased approximately 1.5 percent. Moreover, pollution has been observed recently in other rivers, for example, Shagan, Derkol and others.

According to the Deputy Director of the Oblast Territory Environmental Protection Department, Bulat Suleimenov, it is more profitable for KPO to pay a fine than to build a waste-processing complex. Fourteen administrative fines were imposed on KPO in 2004 and the total of these has increased, but these activities have not yielded any results. The expenses are associated not only with the construction of the complex, but also with labor payments for new employees.

In connection with systematic violations of statutes of environmental protection legislation, the above-named Department has undertaken a series of specific, stricter measures, as a result of which the payment total for pollution to the environment should increase ten-fold.

Translation by Crude Accountability