Kazakhstan: environmental suit against Caspian consortium
The government of Kazakhstan has brought a legal action for violation of environmental protection laws against the North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC), the consortium leading development of the country's massive Kashagan oil field, seeking $5.14 billion in fines. In the complaint filed late last month, the Ministry of Ecology & Natural Resources cites storage of sulfur on site in excess of permitted limits, burning of crude gas on flares without a permit, improper discharge of wastewater, and other violations.
Kashagan is one of the largest oil-fields discovered on Earth over the past 40 years, with recoverable reserves estimated at up to 13 billion barrels. In 1997, a Production Sharing Agreement was signed between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Offshore Kazakhstan International Operating Company (OKIOC) to run the NCOC. The consortium includes the Italian Eni, French Total, US-based ExxonMobil, Anglo-Dutch Shell, Chinese CNPC, Japan's Inpex, and KazMunayGas, the Kazakh national operator. (Jurist)