Kazakhstan’s national oil and gas company, KazMunayGas, and the Russian Tatneft will create a joint venture for geological exploration for hydrocarbons at the Karaton Podsolevoy subsoil area in the Atyrau region in western Kazakhstan, KazMunayGas has announced. The two companies signed agreements for the project on February 21st in the Russian city of Kazan. Tatneft is headquartered in the nearby town of Almetyevsk. According to the agreements, KazMunayGas is selling Tatneft a 50% stake in Karaton Operating Ltd., the operator of the Karaton Podsolevoy project. In June 2023 KazMunayGas received a contract to explore and produce hydrocarbons at the Karaton Podsolevoy area and in September 2023 registered a private company, Karaton Operating Ltd., to implement the project. In November 2023, KMG transferred the subsoil use right to Karaton Operating Ltd. “[Kazakhstan’s president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev] set the task of attracting foreign investment in the raw materials sector and geological exploration,” commented Magzum Mirzagaliyev, chairman of the board of KazMunayGas. “In this regard, we held negotiations with a number of investors and are pleased that our partner in the Karaton Podsolevoy project has become the Tatneft company, which has extensive experience in the field of geological exploration and development of oil and gas fields.” Mr Mirzagaliyev added that drilling of the first exploration well with a depth of 5,500 meters is planned for 2024.
Viewing results 1 - 6 of 56
Last year Kazakhstan produced 112.7m tons of coal, 1.1% less than in 2022. The country’s energy-generating facilities used 65.9m tons and 31.9m tons were sent for export, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics. Kazakhstan ranks among the world’s ten leading countries in terms of coal reserves, with 49 deposits containing 33.6bn tons of coal. Today the coal industry provides fuel for about 70% of Kazakhstan’s electricity generation. About 30 companies are currently engaged in coal mining in the country, providing jobs for almost 32,000 people. Large coal deposits are located mainly in Central Kazakhstan (Karaganda coal basin, Shubarkol deposit, Turgai brown coal basin) and the northeastern region (Ekibastuz and Maikuben coal basins and Karazhyra deposit). The Ministry of Industry and Construction earlier announced Kazakhstan’s plan to increase the production of coal in the period 2023-2029. The National Bureau of Statistics reported that exports of hard coal and lignite have increased 6.5-fold, mainly due to the growing demand for Kazakh coal from the countries of the European Union, which has placed an embargo on Russian coal exports to European countries since August 2022.
Cooperation in groundwater exploration was discussed during a February 21st meeting of Kazakhstan’s minister for water resources and irrigation, Nurzhan Nurzhigitov, with the Spanish ambassador Jorge Urbiola López de Montenegro, and representatives of the Spanish company Xcalibur Smart Mapping, the global leader in natural resource mapping. Xcalibur, whose technologies are widely used in Australia, Canada, the USA, and Europe, said that it was ready to help attract grants and funding for joint projects in groundwater exploration in Kazakhstan. According to the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, 4,540 groundwater deposits have so far been explored in Kazakhstan. Today the water reserves of Kazakhstan total 102.3km³ and the operational reserves of groundwater in the country amount to 15.7km³. Slightly more than 1% of the total volume of water is used to provide the population with drinking water.
This year the Turkmen coastline of the Caspian Sea has hosted a record number of wintering birds. According to the international ornithological expedition, more than 207,000 birds have flown there since the fall. Pink flamingos, listed in the so-called Red Book of endangered species, are the emblem of Turkmenistan's Khazar State Nature Reserve. Scientists at the reserve counted 30,392 of these migratory birds in total. Turkmen ornithologist A.A. Shcherbina commented that "this is an official record, both according to recorded data and observations in our sector of the sea, which I have been engaged in since 1971." In Latin flamingo means fire or flame. This species is most commonly found in Africa, Southeast and Central Asia, the Caucasus, Central and South America, and the Mediterranean. In Central Asia there is a red-winged species of flamingo, which is usually called 'pink'. Nomadic peoples across Asia believe that seeing one will make them happy. Scientists carefully study, photograph and keep records of all coastal animal species of the Turkmen sector of the Caspian Sea. Specialists have noted that in the past years, endangered flamingos preferred to spend their winters in Iran. The current relocation of the birds, it seems, is caused by favorable changes in the water of the Caspian Sea and its coastline. Thanks to the efforts of staff from the Khazar reserve, natural conditions for nesting are improving on the Turkmen coast -- and the food base for protected birds is growing. According to their calculations, there are 50,000 more migratory birds this season than last season. The reserve, founded in 1934, took its name from the ancient name of the Caspian Sea -- Khazar. Most of the reserve's 270,000 hectares fall on the shores of the Caspian Sea.
The Buzachi Oil Company has been fined 350 million tenge ($777,536) over a fire at the Karaturun field that burned for 200 days. As a result of a large methane leak at the field in June 2023, natural gas ignited at well number 303. The fire was finally extinguished on December 25th. Consequently, representatives from a regional Department of Ecology office conducted an unscheduled inspection of Buzachi Oil LLP, and according to the data gathered, the maximum permissible concentration (MPC) of methane in the air in the vicinity of the field was 480-times higher than normal. Furthermore, the concentration of petroleum products in the soil was 168.13 mg/kg higher than the permissible limit. According to a since deleted post on petrocouncil.kz, the fire started on June 9th when a gas-water mixture was released during the lifting of the drilling tool and ignited. Members of Parliament subsequently called on the government to terminate the contract with Buzachi Neft and return the field to the state. It transpired that the well had been drilled a year earlier than it should have been - not in 2024, as indicated in the permit, but in May 2023. "Based on the results of the inspection, the enterprise was issued a prescription on the need to develop a remediation program to eliminate the environmental damage caused, as well as compliance with the norms of emissions into the environment. Four administrative protocols were drawn up. According to preliminary calculations, the fine will amount to more than 350 million tenge," the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources said. Experts estimate the volume of methane leakage at the field in Mangistau region amounted to 127,000 tons. If these estimates are correct, the methane leak at Karaturun may be the second largest in the history of observed leaks. Speaking to The Times of Central Asia, environmentalist Timur Yeleusizov said that Kazakhstan needs to open a full-scale inspection of multiple enterprises, hold them accountable, and fine them. Yeleusizov claims that multi-million dollar fines are imposed in theory, but it's not known how many of them have been levied in practice. "This is not the first such case. Last year Kazzinc dumped cement dust, then the Ulba River was colored white, and now it is green," Yeleusizov told TCA. "How long will this continue and how long will our state inactivity last? Recently, there have been frequent cases of waste discharged into water bodies and rivers from which people drink. This problem concerns all the enterprises of Kazakhstan, because the issue of waste processing has not been solved so far. Moreover, companies can [afford to] pay these multi-million dollar fines without harming themselves." Yeleusizov also emphasized that the areas where hotels and resorts are located are in great danger, as none of them meet environmental standards. "I've repeatedly raised this issue with the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources. We are now developing ecological tourism - glamping and camping in specially protected areas. Nevertheless, not a single mountain resort in Kazakhstan meets...
Forestry workers and ecological activists in Uzbekistan’s northwestern Karakalpakstan region have begun planting desert plants on dried up sections of the Aral Sea. Salt and dust carried in the wind cause significant damage to areas adjacent to the Aral Sea and their inhabitants. Every year more than 100 million tons of salt, dust and sand are blown from the bottom of the former Aral Sea and mix into the air. Up until the late-1990s, the land surrounding the Aral Sea was still cotton fields; today, it’s largely an expanse of salinized grey emptiness. The desiccation of the landscape has led to these vast toxic dust-storms that ravage around 1.5 million square kilometers. Spreading nitrates and carcinogens, these storms - visible from space - used to occur once every five years, but now strike ten times a year. Once a thriving agricultural center, Karakalpakstan, home to the remaining section of the so-called Large Aral Sea, is now one of the sickest places on Earth. Respiratory illness, typhoid, tuberculosis and cancers are rife, and the region has the highest infant mortality rate in the former USSR. “This year we plan to create green plantations in the most vulnerable places, where the winds with salt and sand come from,” said Zinovy Novitsky, a project manager from the Research Institute of the State Forestry Committee. “We plan to plant trees on 150-200,000 hectares. The country is introducing an effective policy to combat this problem.” Between 2018 and 2023, 1.7 million hectares of forests were planted on the bottom of what used to be the Aral Sea. To date, forestry enterprises have collected and prepared for sowing 192 tons of desert plant seeds, including 71 tons of saxaul seeds. Similar plans are being undertaken across the border in Kazakhstan, where, according to the International Fund for saving the Aral Sea in the Republic of Kazakhstan, the so called “Green Aral Sea” being created will make a massive contribution to the process of achieving carbon neutrality. “One saxaul retains up to 4 tons of sand, 1 hectare of four-year-old saxaul absorbs 1,158.2 kg of carbon dioxide and releases 835.4 kg of oxygen per year, [whilst] the shrubby plant, salsola richteri kar absorbs 1,547.8 kg of carbon dioxide and releases 1,116.4 kg of oxygen per hectare. Accordingly, 1.1 million hectares will consume about 1.3 million tons of carbon dioxide.”