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Who will be saving the Caspian?

August 23 2012, 20:11

On the eve of the Caspian Day the meeting of the local NGOs with the reps of government agencies that are responsible for the preservation of the sea, took place at the Zhaik-Caspisky Aarhus Center. The Aarhus Center Director Shynar IZTELEUOVA stated with regret that despite ratification of the international conventions, very few people are aware of them, and they actually don’t work. Although there are only a few months left before the start of the large-scale oil production at Kashagan.

PLAYING CATCH-UP

From this meeting I had the impression that all acts and protocols aimed at the interests of the Caspian Sea are adopted by the statesmen in a rush and at the last minute. E.g. the protocol regarding the response and cooperation between the Pre-Caspian states in case of oil contamination was signed in Aktau only last year. The national plan for prevention of oil spills and response our government approved in April of this year. But they are intending to approve the regional plan only in September! Too late.       

AkZhaik reference: August 12  – Caspian Day. In 2003 in Tehran all five Pre-Caspian countries signed the framework convention on the protection of the environment of the Caspian Sea.  It was ratified on August 12, 2006. Since that day it is celebrated as the Caspian Day.

THERE IS NO ESCAPING FOR BP

As the result of the accident in the Gulf of  Mexico at the drilling platform of British Oil Corporation BP over 5mln barrels of oil were spilled into the Atlantic. All material damage, as per the agreements, was covered by the producing company. As per the press release of March 3, 2012 BP spent about  $22bln for covering material damage, paid out $8,1bn to the private persons, companies and state organizations, about $14bn spent for the liquidation of the accident. BP rep informed that the future payments will covered at the expense of the established compensation fund of $20bn.
Meanwhile Zhumabek ZHANTAEV, the President of the National Centre for Space Research and Technologies, in one of his speeches said that in case of emergencies in the fields located in the shelf sector of the Caspian Sea, the magnitude of spills will be equal to those in the Mexican Gulf.

KAZAKHSTAN TO ‘HOLD THE BABY’

And what we are going to have in case of catastrophe? Atyrau ecologists are unanimous in their opinion: as per PSA it is Kazakhstan that holds the full responsibility for Kashagan and Karachaganak. In particular, it is KMG, a 100% daughter company of Samruk-Kazyna NWF. KMG doesn’t have a spare billion for emergency and we are not talking about compensation to the citizens of Atyrau Oblast only.
The tragedy is that Kazakhstan will be held responsible in case of large-scale ecological catastrophe before all pre-caspian countries according to the the Tehran Convention.
What are we going to protect ourselves with at the international court if we don’t have a contract with the producing company for the responsibility in case of spills. With nothing.
We must admit that KMG after all fell to thinking.  
Recently in February during the development of the National plan on oil spill prevention the representatives of KMG proposed to establish the reserve fund for financial responsibility in case of spills in the Caspian Sea. But nobody ever mentioned about this fund during this meeting.    

AND ASSISTANCE WILL GO TO RUSSIA

But such fund was established. Not by us, but the Russians. It is called the Fund of Assistance for Preservation of the Caspian Sea. The members of the Fund include Atyrau ecologists, as well as Serik MAMBETALIN, the political figure who fell from grace. And last year the necessity for such fund was discussed in Atyrau. As local ecologists say, the Oblast Akimat and the Ministry of Environmental Protection turned their deaf ear to them.
– Now all international assistance in case of large-scale catastrophe will be channeled to that Fund. Good for Russia. I was offered to work in that fund and I agreed. I am prepared to work way the hell out there in order to save the Caspian Sea, - said one of the persons who tried but failed to establish the local fund.   

WE HAVE NOTHING TO KILL THE OIL BLOWOUTS WITH

And in conclusion – the terrible confession of Vladimir BOZHKO, the RoK Minister of Emergency Situations: ‘We talk about the creation of the engineering centre in the Caspian region, we prepared feasibility study, but because we are not supported by the budget, it is difficult to do anything. As for equipping the shelf of the Caspian Sea with the appropriate response equipment, then I should say that we don’t’ have neither well-killing equipment, nor the ships that could perform well-kill operations in case of blowouts.’

By Laura SULEIMENOVA

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