February 9, 2012, Kazakhstan Pravda by Ludmila Corina

Caring for nature, and economically - for resources

The environmental protection system at Karachaganak is always consistent with international standards. Protecting the environment during the development process at one of the largest oil and gas fields in the world - Karachaganak – is not an easy task.

The environmental programme under constant implementation by Karachaganak Petroleum Operating BV consists of several directions. These include the application of modern technology, reducing emissions and building environmental protection facilities, including waste disposal. It should be noted that the extraction and preparation for shipment of the Karachaganak gas and condensate is a technologically- sophisticated process.

Therefore, the consortium of foreign companies operating the project is making large investments into projects connected with environmental safety and health. The scheme to minimise the environmental impact has worked for two decades.

Nonetheless, the KPO administration has again and again found new ways to reduce it further. For this a large-scale campaign has been dedicated with the slogan, "Changing the World for the Better." Last year, the field started to collect its paper and cardboard waste. Electronic document management is now becoming more common.

The company is one of the largest employers in the region and annually consumes more than one hundred tonnes of paper. It is estimated that over the past year, the company collected 22,820 tonnes at several of its offices. Going digital has considerable and obvious benefits. Keep in mind there is much more paper waste than steel in the overall solid waste volume being disposed of at Aksai landfills -- the administrative centre of the field.

“Our mission is to achieve world-class environmental performance in the Karachaganak project,” says Manager for Infrastructure and Service, Steve Grayson.” “KPO aims to become an example for the entire oil and gas industry in Kazakhstan. And I hope the project for collecting waste paper can be used successfully at other production companies across the country. This collective endeavor on part of the company has already found broad support”.

According to Manager for Occupational Health and Safety at KPO Gaziza Khasanov, employees continuously practices things like economising their use of paper and sorting waste. In the first quarter of this year, it is planned to send the first truck to the waste paper recycling plant in Pavlodar.

The same type of rational approach has been developed connected to energy, resources and other materials. This also applies to office workers, and of course, partners in the production process. Compliance with safe work and environmental standards is an essential requirement expected of all personnel. As a result, in September of last year, Karachaganak Petroleum Operating successfully passed through a re-certification audit on its management system for environment, labour protection and safety on its compliance with OHSAS 18001 and ISO 14001 international standards.

“We are proud of this achievement,” KPO General Director Giuseppe Pasi said, while commenting on the event. “As an international class operator, the company constantly strives to improve mechanisms for environmental protection and safety to completely eliminate accidents at work, protect the health of employees and nature at Karachaganak”.

“This is another successful certification that is a well-deserved verification of our long-term and sustained efforts in this area. Progressive experience and skills, combined with an ongoing monitoring of the system has created conditions for reducing the environmental impact”.

“A comparison of the scale of production and emissions also clearly demonstrates the improvement in the ecological situation at the Karachaganak field - the largest gas producing field in the country. The gas utilisation volume is close to absolute values ​​and in 2011, was at 99.92%”.

“This is an unprecedented level across the world. Efforts aimed at reducing man-made impacts have also continued. The re-injection of gas into the reservoir was tested at Karachaganak and has become a permanent practice. This makes it possible to increase reservoir pressure and extract more liquid hydrocarbons”.

“We use environmentally friendly "super green" ​​burners, which eliminate the formation of soot and particulate matter. We have built a modern solid waste management complex, thereby bringing it to safe level. The generators at the Karachaganak Processing Complex are equipped with a unique dry combustion system, which has been recognised as one of the most environmentally safe”.

“The consortium applies innovative Mega Flow technology, developed by British firm - Expo. The importance of this technology is in the fact that during testing, hydrocarbons are not flared, but are rather sent to a refinery for further processing. A significant step was the commissioning of a thermo-mechanical sludge treatment facility. Oil by-products are also sent for re-use in the manufacture of drilling fluids”.

“This significantly improves the environment and allows us to work closely with KPO’s contractors. The main operator’s goals and interests lies in cooperating with companies that supply similar goods and services to protect the environment – the air, soil, water resources, flora and fauna of Karachaganak.