By Laura Suleimenova
Quiet and unnoticeable was the Caspian Sea Day, August 12, in Atyrau. 10 years ago was signed the Tehran Convention between Caspian states.
Last year, on the eve of the date we had diagnosed that Kashagan was still short of environmental safety means. What has changed since then? Nothing.
At the time, the head of country's emergency Vladimir Bozhko stated his agency had many times raised the issue before the government requesting to create an engineering center and even had prepared a feasibility study.
But not until last March, Kazakhstan's government chose to bring the North Caspian Oil Spill Response Base under the country's emergency ministry from TenizService, a KMG subsidiary, given the NCOC expenses will no longer be reimbursed after coming October.
Suddenly, the decision came to a standstill again somewhere between offices and Mr Bozhko himself did not attend the large scale Kashagan-2013 drill, apparently the last one before the start of production, though the date had moved a few times trying to catch up with his schedule.
Vice Minister of Emergency Zhanbolat Smailov, substituting his boss at the drill, said no word about the future of the base.
At a recent environmental forum dedicated to the Caspian Sea Day on August 9-12 in Aktau where it was broadly celebrated unlike in Atyrau, the deputy chairman of Kazakhstan's industrial safety control committtee Daulet Bapy stated that within the transfer of the North Caspian Base to his agency, they had requested the ministry of economy to allocate 4 billion 782 million tenge to build infrastructure and buy oil spill response equipment.
Knowing that the parliament approves budgets in February, it is likely that the production will start without the base.
Perhaps that was the reason Mr Bozhko, who rarely uses words lightly, chose not to come to the drill.
At the forum, NCOC's external relations director Pierre Delpont speaking on 3 category oil spills reminded of the consortium's membership in international organizations. In particular, he said, being a member of Oil Spill Response Limited allows "a 24 hour guaranteed and prompt response to emergencies". He also mentioned Shell's Global Oil Spill Response Network.
Obviously, the consortium does not expect real help from Kazakh authorities in case of spills.