Kazakhstan: NGO raises serious concerns over environmental & health hazards allegedly resulting from Chevron’s operations

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Company response
18 June 2013

[Chevron response regarding environmental & health hazards allegedly resulting from its operations in Kazakhstan]

Author: Chevron [on behalf of Tengizchevroil]

…[T]he report is riddled with false assumptions and conclusions that are not factual. Tengizchevroil remains committed to bringing value to the Republic of Kazakhstan and its people by meeting highest world-class standards of safety and environmental performance…TCO has invested $2.54 billion since the year 2000 on projects to minimize environmental impact. Such investments in environmental protection have enabled TCO to reduce total gas flaring volumes by 92 percent since the year 2000. Total air emissions generated per tonne of oil produced have been reduced by 68 percent since 2000…Investments in environmental protection and improvements in plant reliability have helped TCO to achieve reduction in the number of technical malfunctions at the KTL plant by 81 percent, and the volume of sour and acid gas flaring during technical malfunctions by 87 percent from 2000 to 2012. TCO employees have a comprehensive annual medical examination. TCO statistics indicate that employees in Tengiz have morbidity rates of cardiovascular disease which are 3 to 4 times lower than the average in Kazakhstan and Atyrau Oblast. This is attributed to a good preventative health program as well as good health education. It should be noted that cardiovascular disease is the cause of 51% of deaths in Kazakhstan and the World Health Organization has called the disease an epidemic.

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Article
1 June 2013

[PDF] The Republic of Chevron—20 years in Kazakhstan

Author: Crude Accountability

This year marks twenty years of Chevron’s operations in the Republic of Kazakhstan...[T]he company and the country signed the basic terms for a joint venture to develop the Tengiz field, and...a 40-year agreement on the formation of Tengizchevroil, LLP [TCO]...[A]ccording to government data, TCO is the main polluter in Atyrau Oblast, where the company accounts for 70% of emissions in the oil and gas sector...Local scientists have long been sounding the alarm about the irreparable damage to the environment and health in the region...[T]he population of the Zhylyoi district, where Tengiz is located, breathes...sulfur, and morbidity among residents of the area is growing steadily...A study...found that in the Sarykamys village, the village of TCO’s Tengiz shift camp, the daily inhalation load of gas mixtures on the human body exceeded the maximum allowable concentrations up to 12 times, and in the production area of TCO, up to 40 times. These emissions affect the health of workers of TCO and the local people. According to medical research, there is an increase in circulatory system diseases among the population of Zhylyoi region, as well as the workers employed in the field. Doctors are also seeing a 21% increase in respiratory diseases among local residents in the period from 2007 to 2012...[O]ver the years at Tengiz, cases of sudden deaths of TCO employees and contractors have been recorded. People usually die at work, often during sleep or at home after returning from their shift... As a result of unregulated labor relations, Chevron’s activities are accompanied by a string of labor disputes and clashes between the national and foreign workers in the contracting companies working at TCO facilities. The main causes of conflicts and grievances of local workers are generally low wages, poor working conditions and living conditions, arbitrary dismissal, and discrimination based on nationality. [The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Chevron and Tengizchevroil to respond. Chevron, which partly owns Tengizchevroil, responds below.]

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