By Laura Suleimenova
Ak Zhaik newspaper learnt about the details of diesel fuel spill allowed by Bonatti S.p.A. two years ago at Bolashak plant of the North Caspian project.
The trouble is, that besides the soil there were considerable volumes of polluted ground water.
IT DRIPPED UNNOTICED FOR A LONG TIME
We got hold of documents stating that on August 2, 2012 Atyrau Department of Ecology conducted an unscheduled audit on Bonnatti’s industrial base and recorded a major diesel spill. According to unofficial information the fuel was dripping into the soil from the leaking vessels for a long time. As the result of spill vast areas of Bonnatti’s industrial base, as well as the neighboring Renco-KAT LLP territory was polluted. The fuel got into the soil so deep that it reached the level of subsoil waters. Kazecoproject LLP (Agip’s contractor) conducted analysis and confirmed 100% the pollution by hydrocarbons.
Bonnatti accepted that it polluted subsoil waters in the volume of 310 cubic meters.
The document states that Bonatti during the audit informed that it spilled 122.6 tons of fuel. The contract concluded with West Dala LLP that provides waste utilization services, specified that they removed from the industrial base over 1 764 tons of polluted soil prior to the audit. Based on this, against Bonnatti an administrative case has been initiated as per Article 250 of the RoK Admin Code (“Damage to soil”). The Ecology Deprtment assessed this damage to environment in 376 707 484 tenge.
Since the case wasn’t just an administrative case, but was subject to criminal prosecution, the administrative case was closed and the materials were handed over to the specialized environment protection prosecutors’ office, which in its turn, sent the materials to Makat District Internal Affairs Department. Later the investigator K. Nurlybekuly refused to initiate criminal proceedings due to the “absence of the event of a crime”.
The department o Ecology then filed the case in the court on January 28, 2013, but the Atyrau Oblast specialized inter-regional economic court denied to settle a claim, reasoning that the damage caused to nature in this case should be assessed using the “direct
“ method. According to Article 109 of the Economic Code, “ the direct” method of economic assessment envisages the calculation of actual costs required for the restoration of the environment. At the court Bonnatti presented the contracts with Eco Zheruyk LLP, Bioengineering, Batys-Service Group and West Dala, Acts of completed works and invoices that stated the company fulfilled its obligation fully. In the end, Bonnatti paid in fines about 500 000 tenge.
MONEY ON AGIP’S ACCOUNT IS THE GUARANTEE
- It started in 2012 when Bonatti presented its recultivation project. They had no provisions for cleaning of polluted soil and ground water from hydrocarbons, - says the chief of regional department of ecology Erbol Kuanov. – I asked them to submit a new project taking into account the above-named pollution. The problem is that the spilled fuel got into the ground waters, And this is much worse than polluting the soil. The soil could be simply replaced. According to the new project the company excavated the ground and placed bacteria that is fed by oil products. They periodically remove ground water, but it smells of diesel fuel. Let’s see, how effective their efforts will be. We require that they should hand over everything in its original state. I invited Agip representatives to the joint meeting since Bonatti is Agip’s subcontractor. As far as I understood, Bonatti should fulfill their obligations, since they have large sume of their guarantee deposit money on Agip bank accounts. It means that if Bonatti does not fulfill its obligations, then that money will be used for covering all expenses for restoration work.
-When will Bonatti finish this work?
- They are planning to finish next year, but, according to some experts, elimination of such consequences will take much more time. If Bonatti doesn't eliminate all these consequences, we have the right to take them to court, including its first head. In this respect there is an article in the Criminal Code.
Earlier we wrote that Bonatti will be involved in pipeline replacement activities at the Kashagan project. By the way, according to the latest data, the sum of the contract originally specified by our sources is not $170 million, but much higher. In general, the scale of participation of Bonatti in the Kashagan project, despite all their “troubles”, is very high. For example, on their website we found information that they implemented three construction projects for Agip KCO at Bolashak plant. Total cost of those project was $729 million.