13 Jul 2023 12:29

Equipment wear, poor planning to blame for recent power outages in western Kazakhstan, commission finds

ASTANA. July 13 (Interfax) - Kazakhstan's government has reviewed the preliminary findings of an investigation into the failures at Mangistau Atomic Energy Complex and Atyrau Oil Refinery earlier this month, the prime minister's press service said in a press release.

A working group formed by an ad hoc commission visited the Mangistau and Atyrau regions on July 6 to 9 to identify the sequence of events that happened on July 3, according to Zhandos Nurmagambetov, a deputy energy minister.

In addition, the working group assessed the current state of the power system in west Kazakhstan and the reliability of power supply to the Atyrau refinery.

"The recent situation pointed out to shortcomings in the power balance forecasting and in the planning of the energy system repairs in west Kazakhstan. Also, the project for reliability improvement of the power grid in west Kazakhstan has been delayed," the press release says.

There have been numerous accidents power stations in the Atyrau and the Mangistau regions, primarily Mangistau Atomic Energy Complex, according to the working group.

The power generation equipment of Mangistau Atomic Energy Complex has a high level of wear.

"Also, there are questions about the operation of the new power plant of Karabatan Utility Solutions LLP. The external power supply scheme for the Atyrau refinery is not flawless either," the press release says.

An action plan has been developed to address a number of systemic problems to prevent power supply disruption in the future. This plan provides for modernization and overhaul of the Mangistau Atomic Energy Complex, improvement of the reliability of the power grid in west Kazakhstan, construction of a power plant at the Atyrau Oil Refinery and connection of the west Kazakhstan grid to the national power grid of the republic, according to the press release.

An emergency shutdown of the Mangistau Atomic Energy Complex's power unit No. 1 on July 3 caused a power surge on the Aktau - Atyrau - Uralsk - UES of Russia 220 kV transit power line, triggering the emergency shutdown of the 220 kV Tengiz-Beyneu lines. As a result, the Mangistau region switched to isolated operation with a decrease in frequency and disconnection from consumers. Then, the accident affected the Atyrau power junction, forcing the isolated operation from the 220 kV transit transmission line of power plants for Tengizchevroil, operator of the development of the Tengiz field, NCOC, operator of Kashagan, the Atyrau Heat and Power Station, the Atyrau Oil Refinery, the CPC-K pipeline, half of the city of Atyrau and other districts in the region.

A number of industrial facilities in the Atyrau region were transferred to backup power sources, and Mangistau region industrial facilities received electricity with restrictions.

Repairs of Power Generation Unit No.1 at Mangistau Atomic Energy Complex were completed on July 9. It took two attempts to restart the unit.