AKSAI, Western Kazakhstan Oblast, 13 February 2004Karachaganak Petroleum Operating B.V. (KPO) refuted the information disseminated by the Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency referring to the public prosecutor’s office for Western Kazakhstan oblast, which pointed at inefficiency of systems of detection and individual detectors of hydrogen sulfide used by KPO employees.

As Rick Allen, KPO Safety Manager said: “The hydrogen sulphide (H2S) alarm systems at KPO gas processing facilities were installed in accordance with an approved project design and subject to independent technical and environmental expertise. The presence of any H2S above zero ppm is detected. The systems are set to provide an initial alarm at 5 ppm and are subject to regular calibration in accordance with metrology standards of Kazakhstan. This is in line with current international standards for H2S detector systems. KPO personnel and contractors' personnel also carry personal alarms set to emit a warning sound at hazardous H2S concentration. Both fixed and personal gas alarms provide protection for individuals against emergency situations. The safety systems at Karachaganak facilities are described in detail in the Declaration of Safety for Industrial Units for the Karachaganak Field issued in 2003 and approved by Gosgortechnadzor (GGTN)”.

Rick Allen also said that “A healthy working atmosphere for employees is assured by regular monitoring of air around gas processing facilities in accordance with GOST and sanitary standard for air in work areas no 1.02.011-94. This monitoring confirms that H2S is normally completely absent and is consistently much lower than the 2.2 ppm maximum exposure level defined in these RoK standards. In a letter dated 5th February 2004 the Head of the Western Oblast Health Department confirmed that KPO's approach to the assurance of a working atmosphere safe from H2S hazards was in accordance with the laws of Kazakhstan”.

“In addition to these personnel safety measures KPO is also participating in a long term RoK inter-departmental study into the alarm levels appropriate for sour gas production facilities in conjuction with health and safety experts across Kazakhstan”, added Rick Allen.