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Atyrau Refinery won the case in court against the department of ecology

January 12 2015, 17:03

By Saule Tasboulatova

Atyrau RefineryAtyrau RefineryAtyrau Refinery refused to pay the ecological fine instructed by the regional department of ecology in 2014 amounting to 24 billion tenge and won the environmental case in court.

The specialized inter-district economic court of Atyrau Oblast dismissed the claims of the regional department of ecology about collecting from Atyrau Refinery of a 24-billion tenge ecological fine. The appeal judicial board on civil and administrative cases of Atyrau regional court have not changed this decision, and have not satisfied the appeal of department of ecology.

Let us remind that in March, 2014 the regional department of ecology issued to Atyrau oil refinery the instruction about compensation of ecological damage for the sum of 23,7 billion tenge - for environmental pollution for flaring sour gas. During the inspection the flare system meter showed 700 thousand cubic meters of burnt sour gas at the sulphur production unit.

Erbol KuanovErbol KuanovIn its turn the Atyrau Refinery expressed disagreement with this inspection results, claiming that the plant never made any emissions of sour. As for indications on the meter, the chief engineer of Atyurau Refinery Denis Kozyrev, answered the following: “The above meter is not designed for commercial metering of sour gases. It is used only for monitoring of purge gas consumption by operation personnel and taking due measures in emergency cases. The plant hasn’t made and doesn't emit any polluting substances into the atmosphere above the set limit. According to Rules of Construction and Safe Operation of Flare Systems, we flare only fuel or inert gases that don’t contain hydrogen sulfide. All sour gas goes for production of liquid sulfur”.

For the purposes of objective inspection of the plant technological units and flare system the Atyrau Refinery attracted independent experts from Atyrau Oil and Gas Institute, Institute of petrochemical processing from the Republic of Bashkortostan, Giprogazochistka LLP, Yokogawa Elektrik Kazakhstan LLP and the Kazakh Institute of Oil and Gas. The materials have been also sent for review to the flare system designer company - Omsk Neftekhimproekt JSC.

In the court the department of ecology couldn't prove that the respondent (Atyrau Refinery) actually flared sour gas in the volume of 693 753,1 cubic meters.

The flare system ensures safe burning of technological gases during failure of operational mode, emergencies, start-ups and shut downs. According to the data available in the log-book of the department of ecology, in 2012 the sulphur plant had 25 emergency incidents, and in 2013 - 20.

Erbol Kuanov, the head of ecology department of Atyrau Oblast disagrees with that:

- Now they say that the meter is common both for sour and fuel gas. During the reconstruction activities performed by the Japanese, it was installed incorrectly. It should be separate for metering only sour gas. But we intend to go further to the Supreme Court to prove our case.

To recall, the inspection at the Atyrau Refinery was conducted following the multiple complaints of the citizens in 2013. People complained about the smell of “rotten” eggs during night times and in the mornings. Ak Zhaik published several articles on this topic. Based on the result of all inspections Kuanov made a statement at the end of 2013 where he named all companies that add to the poisoning of our city (see” The city in the stinking ring”).

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