By Saule Tasboulatova
On Saturday, December 13, the Kazakh Government had a meeting with Kashagan project operator - NCOC, as well as with the companies participating in NCPSA venture, where the parties signed a certain agreement.
There is no information available about the details of the terms of the signed agreement. In the official NCOC press release published on the website of the company reads the following: "Today the Republic of Kazakhstan, NCOC and participants of NCPSA settled a number of production, financial and environmental issues that emerged in the last years. The agreement was signed on December 13, 2014 in Astana by the Minister of Energy and representatives of the Operator Company – NCOC, as well as NCPSA participant companies. The terms of agreement are confidential.
The consortium agreed to continue financing of the social infrastructure projects in Mangistau and Atyrau Oblasts of Kazakhstan, and also to provide financial support in the organization of Expo 2017 in Astana".
As for "the settlement of environmental issues", perhaps, they are talking about disagreement concerning penalty payment. To recall, NCOC and Agip KCO are still challenging the legality of the ecological penalty amounting to 134,2 billion tenge, imposed by the court for flaring sour gas during the trial start-up of the Kashagan project. The foreign party doesn't agree with the assessed amount of compensation for damage, that has been calculated by the specialists of regional department of ecology. Perhaps, during the signing the agreement the parties agreed on certain terms, such as the reduction of the penalty amount in exchange for financial support during Expo-2017.