Karachaganak’s path to the "green economy"

July 23, 2013, Liter by Arman Kusainov

Karachaganak Petroleum Operating BV (KPO) has made public presentations of the Environmental Action Plan for 2014. Public hearings on the proposed plan were held in the Bolshoi Chagan Village.

This is where the pumping station for the Karachaganak - Bolshoi Chagan - Atyrau export pipeline is. Another presentation was held in the Burlin District Akimat building in the town of Aksai, the administrative centre of the district where the Karachaganak field is located.

The hearing was attended by secretaries and deputies from the West Kazakhstan Oblast, the Peremetinskiy and Burlin District maslikhats, heads and officials from the Peremetinskiy and Burlin districts, the rural districts akimats located near the field, activists, officials from the Department of Ecology of the West Kazakhstan Oblast, community leaders, ordinary people and the media.

Since the launch of the Karachaganak oil and gas field, from 1998 to June 2013, KPO allotted 34.3 billion tenge into the implementation of various environmental protection measures.

The successful implementation air protection measures allowed to KPO significantly reduce pollutant emissions into the atmosphere. From 2006 to 2012, emissions fell by 16%, and certain specific emissions have been reduced by 25%. In addition, in 2012 KPO transferred the rejuvenated 49.1 acre griffin territory to state ownership. They planted over 1.3 million trees and shrubs over an area of ​​500 hectares at the Karachaganak oil and gas field and the Sanitary Protection Zone.

Efforts to minimise the impact on the environment and conserve biodiversity in the KPO production area will continue in 2014. The action plan for the protection of the environment for next year consists of 10 main areas and includes 31 steps.

The total cost for environmental protection measures in 2014 will be 2.7 billion tenge. KPO representatives noted at the public hearings the main priorities are the protection of water resources, management of waste from production and consumption, as well as the air.

During the debate, the public, government agencies and the media had an opportunity to ask questions on the KPO Environmental Action Plan for 2014, and make comments and suggestions. These will all be included in the final report hearing. Overall, the results of the hearings on the Environmental Action Plan for 2014 have received public approval.

In upcoming years, a benchmark for Kazakhstan’s industry will be President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s initiative to move to a "green economy" and the "Green Bridge" partnership programme, which was endorsed by the world community at the UN World Summit "Rio + 20".

As is well known, a working group was created last year in Astana under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Akhmetov to develop the strategy for the transition to a "green economy." According to the Ministry of Environment, South Korean and German experience will be taken into account during the strategy development.

Already today, without waiting for additional incentive or a new strategy, Karachaganak Petroleum Operating B.V. is confidently adopting "green economy" standards to its production process.

The company’s environmental action plan, in addition to protecting the air, water and land, ensures the protection and rational use of mineral resources, preserves flora and fauna and helps manage waste production and consumption. It includes innovations such as the introduction of management systems and the best available technology, research and design.

KPO continuously monitors the impact of its industrial activity on the environment: 14 stationary automatic stations perform continuous monitoring of the atmosphere and two mobile environmental laboratories are in operation as well.

The enterprise has voluntarily implemented an integrated management system that includes ISO 14001 environmental management and OHSAS 18001 occupational safety management standards. The ISO 14001 certification confirms the presence of a reliable and effective system for the monitoring of environmental impact and improvement of environmental performance.

To confirm compliance with these standards, every six months inspection audits take place at KPO. In the period from August 15 to 22, 2011 a repeat audit was held for ISO & OHSAS. Both certifications - ISO and OHSAS were re-issued and are valid until September 2014.

As a result, KPO became one of the first companies in the country two years ago to be awarded the President's Paryz Award. It was well-deserved. Another fact is that in 2012, the percentage of associated and natural gas processing reached 99.87%. This is a record for the country, and is relevant to international environmental safety standards.

KPO not only adheres to the highest standards for environmental protection and safety efforts, but also demands the same of its contractors. On July 19 in Aksai, the company organised a forum on Health, Safety and Environment with contractors.

The forum was attended by the senior management of KPO and representatives from KPO contractors. A total number of around 70 participants attended the forum. Such events provide a platform for KPO and its contractors to share information and discuss ideas in pursuit of a common goal - to create a safe working environment for all employees.

The forum had the following objectives: to convey information on KPO’s expectations to contractors regarding indicators in the area of ​​health, safety and environment, to get feedback from representatives of contractor companies on challenges that arise related to meeting KPO’s requirements, and to discuss opportunities to improve the joint commitment to continuous improvement in the area of ​​health, safety and environment.

During the forum, KPO management gave presentations on the following topics: what led to the need to monitor contractors in the area of ​​Health, Safety and Environment, an analysis on the causes of accidents and the results of audits, monitoring compliance with Health, Safety and Environment rules by contractors, and to discuss issues of concern for contractors.

Following the presentations, discussions were held in separate groups. After the discussions, contractor employees presented ​​their own initiatives and recommendations.

Such a systematic purposeful effort to improve environmental safety standards has borne fruit. At a ceremony held on June 5 in London at the Museum of Science, Andrew Gould, chairman of the BG Group, announced the winners from the BG Group Awards.

Out of the 107 applications, KPO received the High Merit award in the category - Efficiency in Work for Health, Safety and Environment, and for promoting a culture of compliance with Health, Safety and Environment rules, confirmed by policy and results achieved.

The Chairman of the BG Group Award recognises the highest achievements in the area of ​​Health, Safety and Environment and the social sector, innovative approaches to the management of risk levels in the area of ​​Health, Safety and Environment and the social sector based on applications received each year from all divisions of the BG Group.

Winning this award demonstrates dedication, effort and commitment on part of the entire staff at KPO to secure and maintain a safe workplace. Also, two members of KPO and an employee from the contractor - Schlumberger won the Golden Helmet award from the BG Group for their outstanding commitment to safety technique standards and their excellent example of safe behaviour.