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Astana, Kazakhstan • 19 February, 2024 | 16:49

Methane Mega-Leak: Company Faces $778 Thousand Fine

The natural gas fire at well No. 303 persisted for 200 days

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On February 19, the Department of Ecology of the Mangystau region announced the completion of an inspection into a natural gas fire as a result of a blowout at exploration well No. 303 in the Karaturun Vostochny field, operated by Buzachi Neft LLP, QazMonitor reports citing Kazinform.

The fire, which ignited on June 9, 2023, during the lifting of the drill pipe, persisted for 200 days until its extinguishment on December 25, 2023.

The Department conducted measurements of atmospheric air, revealing pollutants exceeding acceptable levels, notably methane. In response, an unscheduled inspection was initiated in January, uncovering exceedances in methane levels in the atmospheric air by 480 times and in soil for petroleum products by 168.13 mg/kg.

The report highlights that according to the issued permit, the drilling of the well was scheduled to begin in 2024 but commenced in May 2023. As of today, the Department stated, "The enterprise was issued a directive on the need to develop a remediation program to address the environmental damage caused, as well as to ensure compliance with emissions standards,” said the officials, adding that, “Four administrative protocols were drawn up”. The fine will total over ₸350 million (as of February 19, 2024, $778,150).

Earlier, the analysis of satellite images provided by BBC Verify revealed that this leak was one of the largest observed on the planet in the history of observations.

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