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...
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The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and its international partners have launched the One Health Central Asia project, aiming to mitigate the risk of zoonoses – diseases that are naturally transmissible from animals to humans – in Central Asia. The new initiative was announced on February 13th at the 14th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP14) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. The risk of zoonotic diseases in Central Asia is exacerbated by biodiversity loss and changes in human-wildlife interactions. As part of the new initiative, IUCN and national and international partners, including all five Central Asian countries, will implement actions to prevent the emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases, IUCN reported on its website. The experts will work to consolidate a fair and effective regional network of protected and conserved areas, strengthen conservation measures and wildlife management for disease risk mitigation, and promote the latest advancements in zoonosis research and technology. Speaking at the launch ceremony, IUCN’s director general, Dr Grethel Aguilar, said that nature conservation can contribute to mitigating the risk of zoonotic disease outbreaks, and this important new initiative will strengthen the resilience of Central Asian landscapes, bringing numerous benefits to communities. “We will continue to support the governments here to build regional capacity to apply IUCN's tools and standards, including the IUCN Green List, best practices in species management, and the latest advancements in zoonosis research.” Aziz Abdukhakimov, the minister of ecology, environmental protection, and climate change of Uzbekistan, commented that: “Over the past few years we have observed how the spread of zoonotic diseases like COVID-19 can have a global impact. This has resulted in entire countries being demobilized, transportation connections being disrupted, an increase in food security issues, and massive socio-economic consequences. We are committed to expanding regional cooperation for sustainable management of protected natural areas, preserving unique biological diversity, and contributing to the environmental balance in the Central Asian region, which will receive a significant boost through this project on One Health in nature conservation.” Supported by a €11m contribution from the German Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection via the International Climate Initiative, this major regional initiative will spearhead the One Health approach in Central Asia over the next six years. The initiative, entitled Enhancing landscape resilience to zoonotic disease emergence by consolidating nature conservation systems in Central Asia, will focus on the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health. "Obstacles to migration reduce the habitat available to migratory species. This phenomenon has been observed across Central Asia with species such as the Saiga, Wild Ass, and even those with relatively small ranges, like the Bukhara Deer,” said Amy Fraenkel, the executive secretary of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), one of the international partners of the One Health Central Asia initiative. “In the diminished and fragmented habitats, migratory species of wild animals often find themselves in contact and competition with livestock for pasture and water...
The Hungarian oil and gas company MOL Group has shown interest in a joint petrochemical project using natural gas from Kazakhstan’s Rozhkovskoye gas condensate field, the Kazakh national oil and gas company KazMunayGas has announced. The potential partnership was discussed at a February 7th meeting in Budapest between KazMunayGas’ deputy chairman, Serikkali Brekeshev, Hungary’s deputy minister of foreign affairs, Levente Magyar, and executives from MOL Group. The parties discussed cooperation in the field of petrochemicals and gas processing, including the development of the Rozhkovskoye field, supplies of Kazakh crude oil and gas condensate. MOL Group expressed interest in the supply of Kazakh oil for processing at Hungarian oil refineries, as well as importing gas condensate from the Rozhkovskoye field. The Rozhkovskoye gas condensate field was put into commercial operation in the West Kazakhstan region in December 2023. By 2040, the field is expected to produce 14.2bn cubic meters of natural gas and 7.1m tons of condensate. The field is operated by a joint venture of KazMunayGas (50%), MOL Group (27.5%), and China’s Sinopec (22.5%).
At a February 6th meeting between Kazakhstan’s minister for energy, Almasadam Satkaliev, and the country’s British ambassador Kathy Leach, it was announced that the United Kingdom is ready to work with Kazakhstan on developing wind and solar energy projects. Great Britain may also support Kazakhstan in strengthening the country’s electrical networks, switching its coal-fired industrial plants to gas, and conducting research in the field of hydrogen energy, biogas and carbon capture technologies. These updates were provided by the Kazakh Energy Ministry. The British embassy informed the ministry of the UK Fund for Climate, Energy and Water Security for Central Asia, totaling almost £20m ($25.2m), to be used over a three-year period. At the meeting Mr Satkaliev presented Kazakhstan’s plans for gradually decarbonizing its economy, as part of its target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. Ambassador Leach emphasized that Kazakhstan joining the Global Methane Pledge, which president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced at COP-28 in December 2023, creates many more opportunities for the country to attract financing for low-carbon technology projects.
Germany has agreed to extend Kazakh oil imports for six months (January-June 2024) with a transportation volume of 100,000 tons per month. This comes as a result of a February 6th meeting between the chairman of Kazakhstan’s national oil and gas company KazMunayGas, Magzum Mirzagaliyev, and Johannes Bremer, the chairman of Rosneft Deutschland. Rosneft Deutschland GmbH is the third largest petroleum processing company in Germany. It is now under German government control, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the introduction of EU sanctions on Russian oil imports. Mr Mirzagaliyev and Mr Bremer announced that in 2023, 993,000 tons of Kazakh oil were transported through the Druzhba oil pipeline in Russia in the direction of Germany. KazMunayGas’ head said that Kazakhstan was interested in increasing its oil exports to Germany. “I am confident that joint activities will be mutually beneficial and long-term for the benefit of the economies of our countries,” said Mirzagaliyev.
Kazakhstan is carrying out major expansion projects at the Tengiz, Karachaganak, and Kashagan oil fields. The throughput capacity of the Kazakhstan section of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) pipeline has been increased from 54 million to 72.5 million tons per year, and the country has begun oil shipments along the Trans-Caspian route, which will be increased to 3 million tons within two years, the Kazakh government’s website reported on February 5th. In 2023 Kazakhstan increased crude oil shipments from the Caspian port of Aktau in the direction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline from 250,000 tons to almost 1.4 million tons. In 2022 Kazakhstan’s president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ordered that the volume of oil transported along the Trans-Caspian corridor be increased. Kazakhstan’s national oil and gas company KazMunayGas and the state oil company of Azerbaijan, SOCAR, entered into an agreement to transport up to 1.5 million tons of oil per year from the Tengiz field in the direction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline. The Kazakh government has also announced that work is underway to increase the production capacity of the Shymkent oil refinery in the south of Kazakhstan from 6 million to 12 million tons per year, which will fully meet the needs of the domestic market for motor fuel.