The company of the members of the Kazakhstan government Erbolat Dosayev and Nurlan Kapparov has a direct relationship to pipeline coating at Kashagan, where oil production has been suspended for indefinite time, says the source in Atyrau Oblast akimat, azh.kz reports citing KazTAG.
"Ersai Caspian Contractor" is closely connected with Italians from "Saipem", where they have fifty percent of shares in the company owned by the Ministers Dosayev and Kapparov. Italians are involved as general contractors in pipeline laying and welding. Certainly, when Dosayev announces that “Ersai” has no involvement in these activities, he, maybe, partially was right. But in Atyrau they know that his company performed as subcontractor in pipeline coating operations. This was also announced officially on their company’s website”, - noted the source from the regional government administration, who is familiar with pipeline construction activities in the field.
We found on Ersai Caspian Contractor corporate website some interesting facts. In the section “Ersai as Part of Saipem Company” we found the following: “Within the framework of this project (Kashagan - KazTAG) “Saipem” has three contracts: for piling, flare stacks, trunk lines and drilling activities. Partially the activities for the first and the second contracts are transferred to subcontracting company “Ersai”.
Trunklines: pipeline fabrication and assembly (onshore and offshore) directly in the field and construction of the pipeline section connecting the field with onshore utility lines. Ersai group's other scope is pipeline coating activities. There were three types of pipes: gas and oil pipelines and fuel gas line. The total length of pipeline is 97 km, out of which the initial 53 km are under the sea, then a few kilometers run through a transitional zone up to the 65th kilometer and the remaining 32 kilometers are laid on land”, - reads the information.
By the way, on corporate website we found the address of Ian Nikolaevich Chan, the Deputy Director General of "Ersai Caspian Contractor”, who proudly reports about transparency and responsibility before the Kazakhstan community. But when KazTAG editorial office approached the company with inquiries, regarding Ersai company activities and the situation at Kashagan field, they received just a formal reply. However, at the end of the letter Chan warns the journalists about the protection of honor and business reputation of the company.
Our newspaper has the copy of the latest inspection statements made by Atyrau regional department of ecology regarding the incident at Kashagan, where the colleagues of the Minister of Environment Protection N. Kapparov 9 years ago, during the start of pipe laying activities, openly warned about possible negative consequences of sour gas transportation along these pipelines.
These are literally their arguments: “According to the conclusion of the state ecological expertise under the RoK Ministry of Environmental Protection dated 22 June 2005… the specified pipeline was designed for transportation of dehydrated gas with content of sulfur and carbon dioxide not exceeding 12.9%. However, the actual critical content of sulfur and carbon dioxide in the associated gas is over 16% that may lead to formation of micro cracks in the metal”.
The preliminary inspection results are indicative of sulfide stress cracking due to high hardness (i.e. high brittleness) of pipes on the joints where cracked were formed. According to ecologists, the main conditions for sulfide stress cracking are vulnerable materials (not conforming to ISO requirements), media (presence of H2S and water), presence of metal stress (residual or induced).
Currently, TWI and other specialized laboratories of France and Italy are examining the pipe samples. NCOC press service reported that the results will be ready in April, 2014.
To recall, oil production at Kashagan field started on September 11, 2013. However, on September 24, they suspended operations after leaks had been detected on onshore pipeline running from D island to Bolashak plant.
On October 9, 2013 the production was suspended for the second time after new leaks were detected. After repair works the defective pipelines were hydrotested and more potential leaks were identified. The production has been suspended, a thorough examination is ongoing.