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Public hearing to be held again

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By Laura Suleimenova

On November 26 public hearings of TenizeSrvice LLP have been held on the impact of “Freights transportation route for the facilities in the northeast part of the Caspian Sea” project to the environment.

They ended, so to say, in sensational manner: for the first time in the history of public hearings in Atyrau the discussion will proceed at “a round table” during which the company representatives will have to answer the questions that they couldn't answer during the public hearing session.

Support from the authorities

The public position expressed by the academician Muftakh DIAROV who suggested to he-held the hearings due to unpreparedness of the speakers was supported quite unexpectedly by the representative of local authorities - Orak Bisembiyev, the deputy chief of regional management of natural resources and regulation of environmental use. The reps of design engineering companies will have to be prepared and organize a round table discussion. Until the protocol of public hearings won't appear on the website of regional government, they won't be considered as accomplished.

The main complaint of the public was that the project design engineers couldn't or didn't want to answer the sensitive questions about the first part of “TenizService” project related to the freight transportation route – “The North Caspian sea channel with berthing facilities” (see “Tengiz got the sea channel, for sturgeons and seals it’s a wash-out”).

To recall, the ecologists are concerned that the channel will actually block migratory routes of sturgeons and seals.

The public was also concerned with the plans of TenizService to use the mooring in the future as the terminal for export of oil and oil by-products. Such opportunity, in particular, is proposed in the reports of Dutch developers of the project. Alexey Safonov, deputy CEO for production department of TenizService LLP said to that:

- The project doesn’t foresee the transportation of crude. For crude transportation the pipelines will be required. If the Dutch company wrote that in the future it will be possible to do so, then it is, perhaps, their assumption.

But his statement, however, didn't calm  those who were present at the meeting. The public also didn't give in to numerous appeals of Safonov and the designers to return to the  discussion of the hearings’ topic about coastal infrastructure of the future “Freights transportation route”. According to M. Diarov and the  leading expert of Atyrau territorial inspectorate of forestry and fauna Bostan Suleimenov, the first and the second parts of the project cannot be reviewed separately from each other.

According to the clarified information, the depth of the sea channel will be 4,8 meters, the length - 66 km, the width - 66 meters. During excavation operations, according to Safonov, 19 million tons of soil will be removed from the sea bottom. As for dumps (for sturgeons and seals to pass), they will be located in the chessboard order, each 1,5 km long, at the distance of 3 km from each other. On the whole length of the channel there will be 27 dumps.

The coastal infrastructure will consist of 36 Freights temporary storage facilities - including helicopter pad; technical buildings and facilities, offices, life support facilities for the territory of the Freight unloading units  - 30 facilities in total; rotational village with 2 VIP-houses and 4 accommodation blocks for 272 people; motor roads, treatment facilities, external power and water supply networks. All this will be housed on 18,8 hectares.

Such “temporary facilities” for transportation of modules at the Tengiz expansion stage made the public to prick up their ears even more.

Meanwhile during the hearings Orak Bisembiyev said that he also had doubts about this project, despite the fact that all government agencies issued positive conclusion to this project.

Also from his speech it became clear that the majority of local nature protection structures actually had not provided any expert conclusions, but shifted this responsibility to the republican committees. 

In this regard there is a question: why in the past the project was discussed with the local public if, even to this day, all ecologically sensitive projects get their approvals in Astana?

The terms for conducting round table, i.e. in actual fact, the repeated public hearings, have not been determined yet.

December 2 2014, 10:34

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