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FGP is still a project of disputes

November 19 2012, 14:27

On the sidelines of the recent Kazakh-British forum in Atyrau, reps of foreign companies were confident that Future Growth Project of TCO was almost given the green light, i.e. aligned with Kazakh side.

We asked Oil and Gas Minister Sauat Mynbayev about the real situation around FGP during his visit to Atyrau last week to take part in KAZENERGY meeting.

- The project has been agreed by stakeholders, including Kazmunaygas National Company. At the moment it’s at the stage of submission of documents to our ministry. Once we receive the papers we will enunciate our requirements, including those concerning Kazakh content, said Mynbayev.

To recall, at KAZENERGY meeting it was stated that Kazakh content in TCO’s goods procurement constitutes just 4%. The environmental ministry, which previously had rejected the project’s draft design at ecologic expert review, also has serious pretenses against FGP.

On October 31, State Ecologic Expert Review Council held a meeting in Astana to discuss the project. Unfortunately, ecologists of Atyrau could not attend it due to late notice from Ministry of Environmental Protection.

As we learnt from informal sources, the project again failed to obtain approval at this meeting. To be honest, we were surprised to hear that TCO had amended such a complex design within tight deadlines. According to members of Council, the company’s presentation was, quite frankly, poor.

As per state experts, FGP’s design defects included:

- lack of backup option for the project;

- underestimation of the area seismicity (draft reads 5 on the Richter scale) including potential of technogenic earthquakes;

- potential negative impact of FGP on water zone of the Caspian sea;

- lack of evaluation of impact of large-dimension cargo and modules transit over preserved section of the Caspian sea.

By Laura SULEIMENOVA

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