Kazakhstan lowers Tengizchevroil environment fine

Kazakhstan's Atyrau regional economic court has reduced by nearly 50% an environmental fine of 74.4 billion tenge levied against the Chevron-led Tengizchevroil (TCO) consortium operating in the country.

Eric Watkins
Senior Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 18 -- Kazakhstan's Atyrau regional economic court has reduced by nearly 50% an environmental fine of 74.4 billion tenge levied against the Chevron-led Tengizchevroil (TCO) consortium operating in the country.

A spokeswoman for TCO, however, said the consortium—Chevron Corp. 50%, ExxonMobil 25%, KazMunaiGaz 20%, and LukArco 5%—plans to appeal the 37 billion tenge fine, which is to be levied Oct. 29.

The Atyrau regional environment protection department earlier had filed a lawsuit with the court, accusing the firm of causing environmental damage by storing 2.8 million tonnes of bulk sulfur in 2003-06 without official permission and demanding the 74 billion tenge as compensation.

The Atyrau court's decision to reduce the fine follows earlier statements by Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov, who Oct. 12 said his government and Tengizchevroil had agreed to resolve the environmental problems that led to the fine.

"We found a way to solve the problems," Masimov said when asked about the fine Tengizchevroil was facing. "Questions are not solved just by handing in fines," he said.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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