- Protecting the Environment
- Preventing impacts on the communities
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, accumulation and disposal, and the quality of environmental components — air, surface and ground water, and soil.
The PEC monitoring of the quality of soils, surface and ground water demonstrated that concentrations of target substances in 2021 were on a par with those observed in previous years. There were no evidences that the Karachaganak Field operations may have impacted any of environment’s components.
Air quality is monitored by ways of collecting and testing the samples. The job is performed by an accredited laboratory, as well as 18 stationary automatic EMS. In 2021, as part of the PEC Programme over 100,000 samples were collected, 115,000 laboratory analyses and around 28,000 measurements were completed.
KPO regularly monitors the production environmental control over the environmental condition at the field waste disposal facilities. In 2021, as a result of monitoring of ground water and soil at the Eco Centre Solid Industrial Waste Burial Landfill and the Temporary Liquid Drilling Waste Storage Site, as well as in checks 35A and 35B, no direct negative impact on the environmental protection components is noted. Quantitative control over the movement of waste is carried out in order to take into account the volume of burial, as well as the volumes and time of waste accumulation.
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 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
- Atmospheric air monitoring in the villages adjacent to the Karachaganak field GRI 413-1
- Air monitoring by automatic EMSs GRI 413-1
- Case study
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 stations1 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 2021, 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 2021, according to the results of air monitoring at eight route monitoring stations at the Karachaganak Field 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 2021 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 average concentrations of the monitored air components recorded at route monitoring stations at the SPZ boundary in 2021
Actual average annual concentration, mg/m3
MPC one-time, mg/m3
Exceedance of MPC
0.001 — 0.002
0.025 to 0.027
0.423 — 0.428
1A route monitoring station is used for regular air sampling by observing with portable equipment in fixed locations.
2the determined approximate safe level of impact. MPC for methane is not determined.
Atmospheric air monitoring in the villages adjacent to the Karachaganak field <sup>GRI 413-1</sup>
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 thousand of air samples were taken and analyzed at the stationary stations in 2021.
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.
In 2021 no MPC exceedances was recorded for the daily average concentrations of the monitored air components in the villages.
In 2021, three complaints with respect to gas odour were raised by the village communities adjacent to the Karachaganak Field. Unscheduled air sampling was carried out in the villages with results of the analyses showing that contents of the monitored components did not exceed the MPC’s one-time. Each complaint from an initiator with respect to gas odour has been addressed.
Annual average concentrations of the monitored air components in the seven villages in 2021 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. Criterion for assessing air quality in settlements is MPC daily average.
Annual average concentrations of monitored air components in the villages adjacent to KOGCF in 2021 GRI 413-1
Actual annual average concentration, mg/m3
MPC daily average 1, mg/m3
Exceedance of MPC daily average
0.001 — 0.002
0.022 to 0.025
0.428 — 0.432
0.173 to 0.188
1MPC daily average — maximum permissible daily average concentration of chemical substance [in mg/m3] in the ambient air of settlements. This concentration shall not have direct or indirect adverse effect on human body in case of inhalation during indefinitely long-term period (years).
2Measurements recorded were below the method’s minimal detection limit (MDL). MDL’s for monitored components: CO — 0.6 mg/m3; С7Н8 — 0.14 mg/m3; С8Н10 — 0.14 mg/m3.
3MPC 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 content of benzene, toluene and xylene in the air as the frequency of components’ sample collection and analysis is once in ten days.
Air monitoring by automatic EMSs <sup>GRI 413-1</sup>
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.
Four out of 18 EMSs are located at the field and within the SPZ. The stations 005 — 018 were relocated to new locations in accordance with the Project for EMS relocation to the boundary of the new estimated SPZ, which was completed in December 2021. As of the end of 2021, there are 13 EMSs located at the ESPZ boundary: 006 — 018. EMS 005 was relocated to a site near Aksai.
Annual average concentrations of monitored components at the boundary of the SPZ in 2021 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 annual average concentrations of the monitored air components recorded by EMS in 2021
Actual annual average concentration, mg/m3
MPC one-time1, mg/m3
Exceedance of MPC2
0 — 0.001
0.001 — 0.007
0.002 — 0.006
0.1 — 0.2
1MPC one-time is a maximum permissible one-time concentration of a chemical substance (in mg/m3) in the ambient air of settlements. This concentration shall not cause a reflex response in human bodies (delay of a breath, irritation of eyes, upper respiratory tract, etc.) in case of 20-30 min of inhalation.
2Criteria of air quality at the SPZ boundary is MPC one-time. EMS are configured to give a signal when the MPC one-time is exceeded.
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 2021, the actual daily, monthly, quarterly and annual average concentrations of the monitored components did not exceed the established sanitary and hygienic limits. However, on 31st August 2021, EMS 16 recorded MPC one-time exceedance for hydrogen sulphide measured within a short period of 20 minutes. Pursuant to the requirement of the RoQ Environmental Code (Sub-item 6 Item 1 Article 130), the Company provided the WQO Environmental Department with a notification regarding the exceedance recorded at EMS-016.
It should be noted that no connection has been found between the exceedances shown in table below and KPO field operations. The review of the KPO field operations and the meteorological parameters at the time of the MPC one-time exceedances suggest that all production facilities were in normal operation, with no flaring events, no equipment failures and emergencies recorded.
Exceedances of one-time MPC recorded by EMS’s in 2021
Actual one-time concentrations recorded in 2021, mg/m3
MPC one-time, mg/m3
Frequency ratio of MPC exceedance, one-time
Number of exceedances
At the time of recording and based on weather conditions, NW wind was recorded whereby the KPO field operations could not have affected the atmospheric air in the area of EMS-016 (from EMS-016 towards the field). No gas odour complaints from the local communities adjacent to the KOGCF were raised on the date the MPC exceedances were recorded.
Air quality data from all 18 KPO automatic EMSs are transmitted online to the West-Qazaqstan Oblast Environmental Department via the Ecomonitor portal.
In this section, we share some examples of our engagement with relevant stakeholders aimed at raising the environmental awareness.
Ecomonitor portal is an online Air Monitoring data transmission system, developed by KPO in 2013 as part of the «KPO B.V. EMS Ecological Information Post Creation» project for prompt informing the RSE Kazhydromet on atmospheric air condition in Berezovka village and timely decision-making in event of complaints from the communities.
In 2013, KPO developed the Ecomonitor portal with an online access for WQO Kazhydromet branch to KPO atmospheric air monitoring data from the two environmental monitoring stations EMS-013 and EMS-014, installed in Berezovka village.
In June 2018, KPO established an online transmission of the air quality data to WQO Environment Department from all 18 automatic EMSs, installed both at the SPZ boundary and within the Karachaganak field.
In 2020, as part of the corporate geographic information system (GIS), KPO updated the Ecomonitor portal with a number of new features such as:
In December 2020, KPO specialists presented a new version of the Ecomonitor and trained WQO Environment Department employees to operate the portal. Also, authentication data was handed over to the designated staff.
In result of the project implementation, WQO state agencies gained a real-time access to atmospheric air data from the Company EMSs.
The online monitoring data transmission to regulatory agencies contributes KPO’s fulfilling its obligation in the fields of health, safety and environment, including:
Taking into account the requirement of the new RoQ Environmental Code, for implementation of automated monitoring systems, KPO’s decision to establish an Atmospheric Air Quality Monitoring System within the Karachaganak Field and subsequent data transmission to regulatory agencies was ahead of its time.