August 31, 2008

Kazakh Pundit Says New Oil Processing Facility to “Kill” Caspian

The following is the text of Nadejda Shumilina's report "To Kill the Caspian Sea" published by the Kazakh newspaper website Vremya on 13 August:

"Millions of tonnes of poisons will pour on our heads," this is what academician Muftakh Diyarov sharply said about the volumes of pollutant emissions from a new oil processing facility during a public consultation in Atyrau Region.

The Agip KCO company plans to create an additional petrochemical processing facility, that is, an installation for offshore oil processing in the region (in additional to the Bolashak plant whose construction is under way). In accordance with the law, the company conducted a public consultation regarding this issue. The regional director of Agip KCO, Luciano Vasques and manager of the programme for Kashagan deposit's full field development Bruce Stinson [untraced] said that the land plot in Central Eskene was determined to be the most feasible options for the construction for a number of reasons, among which is its proximity to existing roads and railway facilities.

Agip specialists believe that the construction and operation of the facility will have the lowest impact on ground waters, soil, flora and fauna.

"An enormous amount of oil to be extracted means enormous volumes of pollutant emissions. It is naive to think that they will not affect people's health," Muftakh Diyarov critically said during the consultation.

Diyarov offered his calculations of the emissions: in future there are plans to achieve the extraction of 60m tonne of oil per year. With every tonne of oil extraction, four kilograms of all kinds of dirt will fall into the water, on the shore and into the atmosphere.

"This project will kill the Caspian Sea," the chairman of the Ecological Union of the associations and enterprises of Kazakhstan, Mels Yeleusizov, said, backing the academician. "It is impossible to control the operation of over 200 wells, from which oil with enormous amounts of hydrogen sulphide will be extracted. I consider the options offered by Agip KCO as completely unfeasible," he added.

Originally published by Vremya website, Almaty, in Russian 13 Aug 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Central Asia. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.