Environmental monitoring

KPO places a greater focus on environmental safety operations. In accordance with the RoQ environmental legislation, KPO has implemented a number of environmental programmes, which cover all areas of the KPO production activities. Among the core programmes, there is a Production Environmental Control (PEC) Programme developed in line with RoQ Environmental Code requirements to meet the following objectives:

  • obtaining reliable data about emissions and impact of production operations on the environment;
  • reducing the impact on the environment and human health;
  • rapid and proactive response on emergencies;
  • communication to stakeholders (local communities, state regulatory bodies, company partners) about the environmental activities of the Company and risks for human health.

As part of the PEC implementation, the environmental monitoring includes observations of both the environmental emissions — air emissions, wastewater discharge, waste treatment and disposal, and the quality of environmental components — air, surface and ground water, and soil. In 2019, as part of the PEC more than 100,000 samples, 118,000 laboratory analyses and 28,000 measurements have been taken by the laboratory.

Particular attention the Company pays to protection of air quality across the Karachaganak Field, at the Sanitary Protection Zone boundaries and by the adjacent settlements. KPO monitors air quality by sampling and analysis carried out by the accredited laboratory and also by 18 automatic Environmental Monitoring Stations (EMS).

Air quality is assessed based on a maximum permissible concentration (MPC) specified in the sanitary and hygienic standards. To identify the level of air pollution, the recorded concentrations of monitored components are compared against the maximum permissible concentrations and then the values are expressed in percentage. MPC of an air pollutant is a concentration, which does not cause a direct or indirect lifelong negative impact on the present or future generations, does not reduce the work capacity of a person and his/her medical condition and does not deteriorate his/her sanitary and living conditions.

MPC of an air pollutant is a concentration, which does not cause a direct or indirect lifelong negative impact on the present or the future generations, does not reduce the working capacity of a person and his/her health and does not deteriorate the sanitary and living conditions of human beings.

Air monitoring at the boundary of the Sanitary Protection Zone

Along with the continuous monitoring of air quality run by the automatic EMS at the boundary of the KOGCF SPZ the accredited Contractor laboratory conducts air sampling made per 8 compass points (rhumbs). Sampling at the SPZ border is performed daily at the route monitoring stations[1] with the following frequency:

  • at the sampling points of N, E, S, W — 4 times per day;
  • at the sampling points of NE, SE, SW, NW — 1 time per day.

In 2019, at the route monitoring stations over 44 thousand samples of air were taken and analysed by the laboratory. The samples are analyzed for the content of the same components measured at the EMSs: hydrogen sulphide (H2S); sulphur dioxide (SO2); nitrogen dioxide (NO2); carbon monoxide (CO). Additionally, air samples are analyzed for methane (СН4) and methylmercaptan (СH3SH) content.

In 2019, according to the results of air monitoring at eight route monitoring stations at the KOGCF SPZ no exceedance of maximum permissible concentration of the monitored components was recorded.

Average concentrations of the monitored air components at the SPZ boundary in 2019 are given in the table below. The column ‘Actual annual average concentration’ shows the minimum and maximum values of average concentrations of the controlled air components per eight points.

Annual concentrations of the monitored air components recorded at route monitoring stations at the SPZ boundary in 2019

Monitored components

Actual annual average concentration, mg/m3

MPC one-time[2], mg/m3

Exceedance of MPC

H2S

0.002

0.008

no

SO2

below MDL* — 0.003

0.5

no

NO2

0.026 — 0.027

0.2

no

CO

below MDL*

5.0

no

СH3SH

not detected

0.006

no

СН4

1.104 −1.110

50**

no

[1] A route station is used for continuous air sampling by observing with portable equipment in the fixed locationsc.

[2] MPC one-time. MPC daily average for hydrogen sulphide and methylmercaptan is not established, therefore, MPC one-time is referred to for comparison purpose; MPC one-time is also applied in order to assess the concentration of benzene, toluene and xylene in the air given as the frequency of components’ analysis is once in ten days.

* Measurements recorded were below the method’s minimal detection limit (MDL).
         MDL for SO2 — 0,003 mg/m3
         MDL for CO — 0,6 mg/m3.

** Determined approximate safe level of impact. MPC for methane is not determined.

Atmospheric air monitoring in the villages adjacent to the Karachaganak field

There are stationary air monitoring posts in six settlements located around the field: Zharsuat, Zhanatalap, Dimitrovo, Karachaganak, Priuralnoye, Uspenovka, and in the Aksai city. At these posts, the certified сontractor laboratory makes sampling four times a day at 1, 7, 13 and 19 hours according to the State Standard. Air sampling is carried out by the permanent personnel of the contracted laboratory, who reside in the villages. Approximately 52 thousands of air samples were taken and analyzed at the stationary stations in 2019.

Air samples are taken to the laboratory in the town of Aksai where the samples are chemically tested for the content of the five main components in accordance with the State Standard and Ruling Documents: hydrogen sulphide (H2S), sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and methylmercaptan (СH3SH). In addition, once in 10 days the air is monitored for concentration of volatile organic components: benzene (C6H6), toluene (C7H8), xylene (C8H10).

Monthly results of air monitoring are published in local printed media and distributed to the villages for posting on the information boards. If any complaint from the communities about gas odour is raised, an unscheduled air sampling is performed at stationary posts.

No MPC exceeding of the average monthly concentrations of NO2 was recorded in 2019. However, there was one time on 01.01.2019 when average daily concentration of NO2 exceeded MPC in 1,275 times in Uspenovka village. Average daily concentration was 0.051 mg/m3 against the daily average MPC of 0.04 mg/m3. MPC exceedance of other monitored components was not recorded.

Annual average concentrations of the monitored air components in the seven villages in 2019 are shown in table below. The column ‘Actual annual average concentration’ shows the minimum and maximum values of average concentrations of the controlled air components.

Annual average concentrations of monitored air components in the villages adjacent to KOGCF in 2019

Monitored components

Actual annual average concentration, mg/m3

MPC daily average[3], mg/m3

Exceedance of MPC daily average

H2S

0.002

0.008 [5]

no

SO2

0.003 — 0.004

0.05

no

NO2

0.025 — 0.026

0.04

no

CO

below MDL[4]

3.0

no

С6Н6

below MDL[4] — 0.149

0.3[5]

no

С7Н8

below MDL[4]

0.6[5]

no

С8Н10

below MDL[4]

0.2[5]

no

СH3SH

not detected

0.006[5]

no

[3] MPC daily average — maximum permissible daily average concentration of chemical substance [mg/m3] in the ambient air of settlements. This concentration should not have direct or indirect adverse effect on human body in case of inhalation during indefinitely long-term period (years).

[4] Measurements recorded were below the method’s minimal detection limit (MDL).
MDLs for monitored parameters are the following: CO — 0,6 mg/m3; С7Н8 — 0,14 mg/m3; С8Н10 — 0,14 mg/m3.

[5] MPC one-time. MPC daily average for hydrogen sulphide and methylmercaptan is not established, therefore, MPC one-time is referred to for comparison purpose; MPC one-time is also applied in order to assess the concentration of benzene, toluene and xylene in the air given as the frequency of components’ analysis is once in ten days.

Air monitoring by Automatic EMSs

18 automatic EMS are installed within the Karachaganak Field and along the perimeter of the SPZ (EMS 001 – 018). The environmental monitoring stations are integrated into the single automatic environmental monitoring system.

Following the establishment of a new sanitary-protection zone (SPZ) from 1st January 2018, a project of relocating EMS to the new SPZ boundary was rolled out.  By the end 2019, nine EMS were located along the SPZ boundary: 007, 008, 010, 011*, 013, 014, 016, 017 and 018. The remaining stations - 005, 006, 009, 012 and 015 will be relocated in steps during the 2020.

Annual average concentrations of monitored components at the boundary of the SPZ in 2019 are shown in the table below. The column ‘Actual annual average concentration’ in both tables shows the minimum and maximum values of average concentrations of the controlled air components by each EMS.

The average annual concentrations of the monitored air components recorded by EMS in 2019*

Monitored components

Actual annual average concentration, mg/m3

MPC one-time6, mg/m3

Exceedance of MPC one-time**

H2S

0 — 0.001

0.008

no

SO2

0.003 — 0.005

0.5

no

NO2

0.002 — 0.007

0.2

no

CO

0.2 — 0.3

5.0

no

* The data from EMS 011 is not included in the table since its relocation has been finished on 26 December 2019.

** Criteria of air quality at the SPZ boundary is MPC one-time.

[6] MPC one-time is a maximum permissible one-time concentration of chemical substance (mg/m3) in the ambient air of settlements. This concentration should not cause a reflex response in human bodies (delay of a breath, irritation of eyes, upper respiratory tract and other) in case of 20-30 min of inhalation.

All EMSs take measurement of the four main pollutants (H2S, SO2, NO2, CO) on a continuous basis, i.e. 24 hours per day. According to the data received from the EMSs in 2019, the actual daily, monthly, quarterly and annual average concentrations of the monitored components  did not exceed the average daily MPC; although a one-time short-period (measured during 20 minutes) exceedance of MPC was registered.  It is worth noting that the most part of exceedances shown in table were not related to KPO operations. A conducted inspection of the KPO field operations with account of meteorological parameters at the time of MPC one-time exceedances showed that all production facilities were operated in normal regime, with no flaring, and equipment failures or emergencies were not registered.

Exceedances of one-time MPC recorded by EMS in 2019

№ EMS Monitored components Actual one-time concentrations recorded in 2019, mg/m3 MPC one-time, mg/m3 Frequency ratio of MPC exceedance, one-time Number of exceedances
EMS-007 H2S 0.016 0.008 1.25 - 2.0 12
SO2 0.606 0.5 1.212 1
EMS-008 H2S 0.010 0.008 1.125 - 1.25 8
EMS-010 H2S 0.009 1.125 1
EMS-013 H2S 0.025 3.125 1
NO2 0.523 0.2 2.1 - 2.615 2
EMS-016 H2S 0.011 0.008 1.125 - 1.375 4

Air quality data from all 18 KPO automatic EMSs are transmitted online to the West-Qazaqstan Oblast Environmental Department via the Ecomonitor portal.