Caspian Sea coastal safety commission to start operating in May
May 13. Interfax-Kazakhstan. Astana
The Kazakh Government is setting a special agency to handle Caspian Sea onshore and offshore safety within the next two weeks, presumably by the end of the month, said Vice Minister of Environmental Protection Eldan Sadvakasova.
The Ministry of Oil and Gas is working on the respective resolution that will come into effect within the next two weeks, she said at a press conference on Thursday in Astana. She added that the list of Committee members has been approved as well as the schedule for inspectors to visit the oil offshore facilities. The offshore safety commission will be inspecting oil companies for the compliance with the environmental standards.
“A trend of the recent years – declining revenues brought down by low oil prices – to some extend has impeded oil environmental projects with some of them put off for later periods. We need to conduct an analysis and determine how far the companies deviated from their obligations,” she explained.
The inspectors will primary be visiting “the companies operating in the Caspian region, particularly in Atyrau and Mangistau oblasts.” The facilities of the remaining oil producers will be checked for safety as part of the Environmental Ministry’s schedule.
She added that the Prime Minister has instructed to draft a schedule and funding plan to reseal old and flooded oil wells in the coastal area.
According to Sadvakasova, the Kazakh part of the Caspian Sea is reported to have 1,113 abandoned wells, including 113 offshore wells.
“Today, 90 old wells posing the highest risks (out of 113 – “IF-K”) have already been resealed,” she said.
Earlier Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Karim Masimov assigned the local authorities to check oil facilities in the Caspian Sea to avoid a similar situation to that of a BP platform crash in the Gulf of Mexico.