On a Possible Sustainable Petroleum Asssociated Gas Utilization in the Kashagan and Tengiz Regions, Kazakhstan
Associated petroleum gas (APG) is a form of natural gas, which is found associated with oil deposits. These gasses have traditionally been considered as unwanted byproducts in connection with oil exploitation. For decades the practice of flaring has been applied. However, this practice is highly controversial as it is environmentally polluting and economically unfavorable. Throughout the oil market this problem has high priority, and specifically in Kazakhstan. In the present paper possible ways to significantly reduce or eventually eliminate petroleum associated gas flaring in the Atyrau region, Kazakhstan are discussed. A particular focus is given to the Kashagan and Tengiz oilfields, which have high priority and potential for further growth in the near future, and thus have a specific value for Kazakhstan both from political and economic points of view. It is concluded that despite a rush for short-term profit by Kazakhstan’s oil producers, an appropriate long-term strategy could not only be environmentally friendly but also financially beneficial. It is, however, also concluded that this requires a coordinated action involving the different players in the region as well as the Kazakh government. As an alternative it is suggested that a private consortium is formed being responsible for creating a unified system for processing and distribution of the APGs. The current flaring situation in Kashagan and Tengiz areas has been assessed applying the integrated environmental assessment framework DPSIR discussing the single elements: Driving forces, Pressures (on the environment), State (of the environment), Impact (on environmental and human helath) and Responses, respectively.
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