27 Feb 2024 12:52

Kashagan operator fails to challenge environmental audit results in court

ASTANA. Feb 27 (Interfax) - The Appellate Board of the Astana Court recognized as legitimate the results of an inspection by the Department of Ecology of the Atyrau Region in Kashagan, an Interfax correspondent reported from the court hearing.

"The judicial panel declares: that the decision of the specialized interdistrict administrative court of Astana dated June 14, 2023 in this case be changed. The court's decision regarding the recognition as illegal, and the cancellation of the order to eliminate violations, specifically, the violations in paragraphs 3, 6 and 9, is hereby nullified, and a new decision is issued. The appeal of the defendants [the Department of Ecology of Atyrau Region in Kashagan] will be satisfied. The appeal of the plaintiff [the operator of Kashagan, North Caspian Operating Company, NCOC] will be rejected," presiding Judge Damir Abdugaliyev said when announcing the decision.

The appeals panel overturned the court's decision, through which NCOC managed to challenge the main points of the Department of Ecology's audit in the summer of 2023.

The panel ruled that the field's operator did not comply with environmental requirements "to cover the top surface with a polymer film," and that the company made a significant change in the production process without first conducting an environmental impact assessment and without a developed design.

In addition, the board recognized the conclusion of the ecology audit with regard to the excess placement of sulfur as legitimate.

"The panel concluded that the volume of sulfur storage limits for each year cannot be calculated in a cumulative fashion," the judge said.