Protecting the environment

KPO performs comprehensive environmental monitoring as set in the Production Environmental Control (PEC) Programme. Within the PEC scope, monitoring of both the environmental emissions (emissions to air, discharge of wastewater, and the treatment and disposal of wastes) and the quality of environmental components (air, surface and underground water and soil) is conducted to assess the potential impact of production activities on the environment. The PEC Programme determines the sampling and measuring locations, the list of components to be identified and the monitoring frequency.

The Production Environmental Control is conducted within the Karachaganak field, at the Sanitary Protection Zone boundary, in the nearby villages, along the pipeline route and at the facilities of the KPC – Bolshoi Chagan – Atyrau export condensate pipeline.

KPO conducts air monitoring through sampling and analysis by accredited laboratory and, in addition, by means of 18 automatic Environmental Monitoring Stations (EMS) continuously run at the KOGCF and SPZ perimeter. Each station has four (4) analysers designed for continuous measurement of hydrogen sulphide (H2S), sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) content in the air.  The EMS also activates a warning alarm in case of high concentration of emissions in the air.

Mobile air monitoring is conducted when required at individual sites using one of two fully equipped mobile environmental monitoring laboratories.

To evaluate the air quality, the health-based exposure limits or maximum permissible concentrations (MPC) are used. Recorded concentrations of controlled components are compared with the maximum permissible concentrations, indicating the level of pollution in parts.

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 of the Karachaganak field

Along with the continuous air quality monitoring run by the 18 EMS, the accredited Contractor laboratory conducts air sampling made per 8 compass points (rhumbs) at the boundary of the KOGCF SPZ. Sampling at the border of the SPZ is performed at route monitoring stations[1] daily with the following frequency:

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

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 2018, no exceedance of the maximum permissible concentration of the monitored components at the KOGCF SPZ was recorded.

Average concentrations of the monitored air components at the boundary of the SPZ for 2018 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 8 points.

The average annual concentrations of the monitored air components recorded at the SPZ boundary in 2018

Monitored components

Actual annual average concentration, mg/m3

MPC one-time[2], mg/m3

Exceedance of MPC

H2S

0.002

0.008

no

SO2

0.003

0.5

no

NO2

0.025 — 0.027

0.2

no

CO

below MDL*

5.0

no

СН4

1.107 — 1.136

50**

no

СH3SH

not detected

0.006

no

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

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

[1] The route station is intended for regular sampling of air at a fixed point in the area during observations carried out with the help of portable equipment.

[2] MPC one time — 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 the eyes, upper respiratory tract and other) in case of 20-30 minutes of inhalation.

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 city of Aksay. At these posts, the certified сontractor laboratory makes sampling 4 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.

Air samples are taken to the laboratory in the town of Aksai where the samples are chemically tested for the content of the 5 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 sent to the villages for posting on public information boards.

In case of complaints from the communities on a smell of gas, unscheduled air sampling is performed at stationary posts.

While the average monthly concentrations of NO2 did not exceed MPC in 2018, there were a total of two exceedances of the daily average MPC of NO2 average daily concentration registered in Zhanatalap:

  • 1 occurrence of NO2 exceedance by 1.075 times — registered in II quarter 2018 (23.06.2018). The average daily concentration was 0.043 mg/m3 while the daily average MPC is 0.04 mg/m3;
  • 1 occurrence of NO2 exceedance by 1.1 times registered in IV quarter 2018 (21.12.2018). The average daily concentration was 0.044 mg/m3 while the daily average MPC is 0.04 mg/m3.

MPC exceedance of other monitored components was not recorded.

Annual average concentrations of monitored air components in the seven villages in 2018 are given 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 2018

Monitored components

Actual annual average concentration, mg/m3

MPC daily average[1], mg/m3

Exceedance of MPC daily average

H2S

0.002

0.008 [2]

no

SO2

0.003 — 0.004

0.05

no

NO2

0.025 — 0.029

0.04

no

CO

below MDL[3]

3.0

no

С6Н6

below MDL[3] — 0.149

0.3[2]

no

С7Н8

below MDL[3]

0.6[2]

no

С8Н10

below MDL[3]

0.2[2]

no

СH3SH

not detected

0.006[2]

no

[1] 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).

[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 evaluate the concentration of benzene, toluene and xylene in the air given the frequency of components analysis of the samples, which is once every 10 days.

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

Air monitoring by Automatic Environmental Monitoring Stations

KPO Automatic Environmental Monitoring Stations that perform continuous air monitoring is an additional source of information on the air condition at the boundary.

Annual average concentrations of monitored components recorded by EMSs in 2018 are given 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 per each EMS.

Annual average concentrations of monitored components in 2018 recorded by EMS

Monitored components

Actual annual average concentration, mg/m3

MPC one-time, mg/m3

Exceedance of MPC one-time*

H2S

0 — 0.001

0.008

no

SO2

0.003 — 0.009

0.5

no

NO2

0.003 — 0.009

0.2

no

CO

0.2 — 0.4

5.0

no

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

All existing 18 EMSs measure four main pollutants (H2S, SO2, NOX, CO) on a continuous basis, i.e. 24 hours per day. According to the data received from the EMSs in 2017, the actual daily average concentrations of H2S did not exceed the MPC; although a one-time short-period (20 minutes) exceedance of MPC was registered.

Other ingredients did not exceed the MPC level in 2018.

Exceedances of one-time MPC of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) recorded by EMS in 2018

EMS No.

Actual one-time concentrations recorded in 2018, mg/m3

Number of exceedances

Frequency ratio of MPC exceedance, one-time*

min

max

EMS-008

0

0.022

21

1.125-2.75

EMS-011

0

0.016

23

1.125 — 2.0

EMS-013

0

0.010

1

1.25

EMS-017

0

0.012

3

1.125 — 1.5

* One-time MPC is 0.008 mg/m3.