Leaning on public opinion

22 march 2006

From 1 till 6 April current year Kyzylorda will host a workshop and open a center for public hearings with regard to environmental impact assessment of prospecting seismic surveys (2D) in Kulandy East which will be the continuation of “Aral” project implementation. Its relevancy is stipulated that the primary prospects of a considerable increase in hydrocarbon reserves and production in our country is connected with the development of Kazakhstani sector of the Caspian and Aral seas. NC JSC “KazMunayGaz” will operate as a subsoil user of “Aral” project.

“Environmental Code aimed at harmonization of our environment legislation with advanced international acts, transfer to new standards and state control system improvement must be adopted in 2006”.   

From the President’s message to Kazakhstan people.

In 2005 geological survey of Kulandy East started. It is conducted by JSC OOC “KazMunayTeniz”, a subsidiary of NC JSC “KazMunayGaz”, assigned as an operator under the contract for hydrocarbon exploration within the contract area.  

One of the main principles of this contract shall be a strict observance of world standards in ecology and the existing environmental legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In this regard the public hearings were held in Kyzylorda to inform the community of the exploration drilling plans. Kulandy East environmental baseline survey was explored and resulted in quantitative characteristics of the air environment, sea water, sea-floor sediments and soil covers. The appraisal activities on species and quantitative composition of vegetation cover and fauna were carried out. The information acquired enables to extend view about all the most important components of the ecosystem of the Aral sea and specify the character of seasonal variations, its natural status – “mechanism of geochemical processes”.       

2D Seismic surveys were accompanied by the ecological monitoring and a number of preparatory activities for construction of an exploration well. At present in this area the construction of the exploration well No 1 with the depth of 18000 m is ongoing and in accordance with requirements of the environmental legislation is accompanied by the ecological monitoring as well.

The next phase in the development of the Aral oil and gas areas shall be the continuation of exploration works in the second prospect- Kulandy East. Here in 2006 under the republican budget program “Governmental theological studies” 2D seismic survey was planned, the results of which would enable to specify the geological feature of the structure, continue the search of prospects with chalk and Jurassic deposits, discover potential oil and gas accumulations in the upper part of trias and define the location of the exploration well.

The detailed design for seismic surveys and their environmental impact assessment (EIA) have been developed. Adhering to the legal norms and contractual provisions JSC OOC “KazMunayTeniz” will inform the regional community of the forthcoming seismic surveys within Kyzylorda oblast.

The performance of the operations in the area is scheduled for 107 days in spring and summer period. The integral environmental impact assessment of prospecting production activities indicated that the impact would be temporary - during the performance of the operations, point – in the area extent whereas the level of impact would range from weak till moderate.   

In general the level of impact of the seismic surveys on the elements of the biosphere will cover adaptive capabilities of the ecosystem of Kyzylorda oblast. Since the operational facilities are located far from the built-up areas the project implementation will have no effect for living and health conditions of the population. 

According to the results of the appraisal activities it was revealed that the main sources of the environmental impact caused by prospective seismic surveys shall be: emissions into the atmosphere from fix site and mobile sources (emissions of products of fuel combustion in engines of motor vehicles, generators, hydrocarbon emissions of various compounds emitted from the fuel and lubricant storage during injection, storage and  offloading of oil products); physical impact factors (noise of industrial equipment on site, engines, facilities and mechanisms);  water disposal (technical and domestic water discharges); wastes (liquid, solid).  

In the whole course of the seismic surveys the fix-site and mobile sources will release 99.3 tons of pollutants (the ground mass falls to the share of carbon monoxide) and form 1767.6 m3 of technical and domestic water discharges and 28 tons of liquid and solid industrial and domestic wastes.

The seismic surveys are to be performed via advanced methods of collection and utilization of liquid and solid wastes not to deteriorate the existing hygiene and sanitary conditions in the region. All wastes shall be collected, utilized, disposed and buried in compliance with the existing standard technologies and the environmental requirements of the law.

Besides in order to decrease the environmental impact of the planned activities the detailed design and EIA project cover a number of organizational, planning and technical activities. Organizational and planning activities provide the prevention of emergency situations and create favorable living conditions. Technical activities aimed to directly decrease the impact of the facilities on   environment and population health mainly amount to strategic conservation measures: environmental emission compliance, quality control of potable and effluent water and reinstatement of the areas affected. 
According to the analysis of the specialists the project implementation (under engineering solutions) will not have a considerable environmental impact. In the meantime in case hydrocarbon resources are discovered, the project implementation will make a noticeable contribution to socio-economic development of Kyzylorda oblast. New jobs will be created, the regional infrastructure will be provided with new impetus for its development, opportunities of local scientific potential will be used, social support will be expanded, relevant personnel will be trained, tax recipients will increase including tax flows into the local budget.

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