Scarcity of gas in the gas rich region
text: Gulmira Kenjegalieva , exclusively for Gazeta.kz
West Kazakhstani regional authorities together with Karachaganak investors are preparing for the launch of a big scale regional project - Karachaganak-Aksai-Uralsk gas pipeline construction.
Nothing seemed to predict such big joy for regional residents, but a visit of the head of state to the region has resolved this problem.
Last week president Nursultan Nazarbayev, after his meeting with the top management of Karachaganak Integrated Organisation, told journalists that in the nearest 1.5-2 years a gas pipeline will be built from Karachaganak to Uralsk, which will provide gas for the majority of towns and villages of the region.
By the way, it is the Achilles' heel of the local authorities. Despite the fact that one of the world's biggest oil & gas fields is developed in the region, its own residents, even those who live right next to the field, don't have an opportunity to use this natural wealth.
Jus complaints of the population did not find any response in the hearts of bureaucrats due to one simple reason - this gasification is too expensive.
Results of the meeting between the head of state and the foreign investors sent tremors into local society.
The first result is the delivery of 500 mcm of Karachaganak gas to the local population.
This gas will cost 25 USD for 1 thousand cubic metres. Which is almost by 15-20% cheaper than the gas imported from Russia.
To implement the project the gas processing unit will be modernised at Karachaganak field in the nearest future. This circumstance will allow to produce additional 600 mcm of gas, of which 500 million will be transported via Karachaganak-Uralsk pipeline, and the remaining 100 million will be used at the Unit 5, whose construction will commence next year. By the way, recently Karachaganak investors reported on the launch of the Unit 4 with 40 MWt capacity. The construction of another unit will allow, according to governor Nurgali Ashimov, to provide energy independence of the region at 140%.
The existing gas processing unit produces 1 bcm of gas, from which 850 million are spent for the alliance's needs and only 150 million are spent for the needs of West Kazakhstan region.
Modernisation of the unit will cost 200 million USD. 80 million USD more will be constructed for the construction of Karachaganak-Uralsk pipeline.
The construction will be completed in 20 months. As a result towns and villages of Burlin and Terekty districts and later also of Srym and Karatobe districts will be gasified.
Although recently, literally in the end of the last year the regional governor said gasification of those districts was impossible due to unprofitability and a lack of funds in the budget.
It is suggested that the pipeline will allow to stabilise the work of city communal services, which find themselves in a critical situation now, due to the expensiveness of the imported Russian gas.
The cheapened gas will come to 5,000 rural houses as well.
A feasibility study of the project is suggested at the beginning stage, changes will also be introduced in the regional budget. In general all funds will be allocated by the Karachaganak Integrated Organisation.
This week all issues related with this project must be resolved at a session of the Joint Operating Committee (JOC), in which representatives of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources will participate. A governmental decision will be signed as well.
In general the president of the country during his visit to West Kazakhstan region highly estimated the work of Karachaganak investors on the field development. "In general the project justifies itself, - he said. Around 6 billion USD have been invested in the project, 250 million USD have been paid into the budget as taxes. Significant amounts are received each year for the development of the region's social sphere."
N. Nazarbayev also noted a necessity of building a gas refinery. By the way, resolution of this issue has been postponed many times by bureaucrats of all ranks.
And now, finally, it has come to an end. "Soon the third and fourth phases will start to be implemented together with Russian "Gazprom." Which means additional investments. It is necessary to build a gas refinery, for which a Kazakh-Russian JV will be created. If we receive 50% of the Orenburg refinery it will be profitable for both parties."
At the same time the head of state made it clear that observation of environmental norms is a must for everyone.
"At the same time I have laid down strict environmental demands before the alliance of the foreign companies operating at Karachaganak oil field. Otherwise they will have big problems," - president said.
Karachaganak enters a new stage of development, therefore it is important that it is useful for the locals.
The gas must not only be pumped to faraway lands by the pipe, but also come into homes of common folks.
And this problem must be resolved in the nearest future.
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09.01.2013 2012 marked by multiple events in Kazakhstan