North Caspian Operating Company N.V. (NCOC), the Operator of North Caspian Sea Project informs about Marine access channels project.
The falling Caspian Sea level followed by the sea's shallowing in the area of Kashagan offshore facilities have limited the use of sea vessels. It is posing a threat towards the safe operation of offshore production facilities that may lead to the complete shutdown of one of the largest fields in Kazakhstan.
To avoid such consequences, NCOC, the Operator of the North Caspian project has developed a marine access channels project. As of today, this solution is the only feasible one of all short-term alternatives considered. Its implementation will ensure safe evacuation of personnel in the event of emergencies, continuous operation of the offshore facilities and offshore preventive maintenance in 2022.
The project impact area will total nearly 29 km2, which is as low as 0.036% of the total North Caspian area. The project will deploy the best available technologies.
The project was developed in accordance with the construction regulations and the RoK Environmental Code. Baseline environmental studies were carried out on the entire area of planned works in 2019-2020. The studies covered all environmental components, including benthos and fish migration routes.
According to the requirements of the RoK laws, with the public informed in advance and in due manner, on 21 September 2020 the public hearings were held, with the participation of representatives from local executive bodies, design organizations, NGOs, the community and mass media. The event was attended by more than 120 persons, including active NGO and community representatives. The attendees received answers to all questions during the hearings and through Zhaiyk-Caspian Aarhus Center in writing.
With a view to setting a more open and active dialogue with the community in anticipation of the public hearings, on 7 September 2020 NCOC initiated a project-related roundtable to address the EIA materials. The roundtable was attended by 16 representatives of environmental NGOs and ecology campaigners.
The project received positive conclusions from an independent expert and a fishery (ichthyology) research centre and was endorsed by the state environmental expert review body.
Project's solutions provide for environmental impact mitigation activities. Further to the baseline studies, a relevant environmental control and impact monitoring will be exercised as per the requirements of RoK environmental laws.