Protect People and the Environment

Protecting People

Working safely is a core value at TCO and we continue to achieve industry-leading safety results in Days Away from Work and Total Recordable Incidents industrial safety metrics.

In 2017, TCO employees and contractors worked over 94.5 million man-hours with four Days Away from Work incidents. 

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While this is truly world-class performance, TCO strives for zero workplace injuries and is continuously working to improve in this area. Living this commitment will ensure success in fatality prevention and process safety, the two cornerstones to incident-free construction and operations.

Protecting the Environment

Since 2000, TCO has invested more than $3 billion on projects to minimize environmental impact at Tengiz

Protecting people and the environment is one of TCO’s core values and a focus area of the Operational Excellence Management System (OEMS). The company enhances its ability to accomplish several of the five key objectives of OE through meeting Environmental Stewardship expectations.

Operational Excellence Objectives:

  • Achieve an incident and injury-free workplace
  • Promote a healthy workforce and mitigate significant workplace health risks
  • Identify and mitigate environmental and process safety risks
  • Operate with industry-leading asset integrity and reliability
  • Use natural resources and assets efficiently

TCO has implemented an Environmental Stewardship Process which provides a consistent, methodical approach to improving environmental performance and reducing potential impacts over an asset’s life-cycle. The Environmental Stewardship Process drives effective management of potential impacts and identifies beneficial environmental improvement opportunities for consideration during the business planning process. 

The consistent and systematic implementation of the Environmental Stewardship Process, including the Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessment Process, the Natural Resources Standard and the Third-Party Waste Stewardship Standard facilitates TCO to continue progressing the goal of leading environmental performance.

Since 2000, TCO has invested more than $3 billion on projects to minimize environmental impact at Tengiz. This investment has enabled TCO to achieve reductions in flaring and air emissions, improve wastewater treatment and support an increase in water reuse.

Air Protection

Air Emissions

Air protection includes recordkeeping to understand trends in pollutant concentrations and taking actions to systematically decrease pollutant emissions when feasible. TCO rigorously complies with legislative requirements of Republic of Kazakhstan and conducts air protection activities through the implementation of state-of-art technologies.

Total air emissions generated per ton of oil produced have been reduced by 70 percent since 2000. In that same period, TCO increased annual crude oil production volume by over 2.7 times, this production increase is a result of TCO’s investments in capital programs and equipment reliability.


Greenhouse Gases

Kazakhstan has enforced an internal system of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission control since 2013. Beginning in 2010, TCO implemented the Republic of Kazakhstan national statistical system data reporting requirements into the annual inventory. This inventory covers all categories of sources associated with crude oil production. Processing data collected in TCO operations indicate that electric power and heat generation account for the largest category of GHG emissions. After the significant reduction in flaring, tail gas combustion represents the next largest source of CO2 emissions, after flaring. Other GHG sources include hydrocarbon production, processing and transportation and associated operations.

The inventory program includes the following emissions with a potential climate change impact: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrogen oxide (N2O). TCO’s intention is to support the initiatives of the Republic of Kazakhstan and continue GHG estimation, control and monitoring.


TCO has implemented number of major projects on flaring reduction, including gas processing capacity expansion project, gas export pipeline capacity growth project and gas utilization project.

Since 2000, investments in environmental protection and plant reliability improvement projects have helped TCO reduce total gas flaring volumes by 79 percent. However, there has been some increase in TCO’s gas flaring from 2014 through 2016. This increase is related to TCO efforts to improve equipment reliability. TCO has successfully conducted significant Turnarounds each year to replace aging equipment and improve existing reliability; replacing equipment often requires flaring to conduct the work safely. 

As of 2009, TCO has eliminated continuous routine flaring of associated gas. But for the purpose of sustaining adequate production level, TCO has to flare gas from time to time to enable safe repair of failed equipment or pro-active replacement of equipment which may fail. This approach is how TCO can attain world class reliability while maintaining the production the Republic of Kazakhstan requests.


Waste Management

TCO is exploring opportunities to maintain the waste recycling rate of 55 percent achieved in 2017 and makes considerable efforts in the market development of local waste management services. 

TCO sends more than 25 types of solid wastes for recycling.

Beyond that, we are implementing recycling projects such as paper and plastic bottles collection and sending them to third parties for recycling and reusing, thus helping establish a sustainable waste recycling industry in Kazakhstan. We remain committed to developing local Kazakh content with our waste recycling partners and continue to identify additional waste treatment opportunities involving third party service providers.

Rational Water Use

TCO recognizes the value of fresh water as a fundamental social, environmental and economic resource and places great importance on water conservation and emphasizes re-use whenever possible. 

TCO uses water every day for technical and potable needs while conduction operations. 

TCO facilities, like most other water users in Atyrau Oblast, are supplied with fresh water through the Astrakhan-Mangyshlak water pipeline from the Kigach River, one of the Volga River’s channels, because the Tengiz region does not have fresh ground or surface water.

TCO’s Wastewater Treatment Facility (WTF) and Water Recycling Facility (WRF) were Major Capital projects which focused on fresh water conservation and wastewater management. TCO’s WTF, designed to treat 6000 m3/day of sanitary wastewater, began operations in January 2014. The treated wastewater from the WTF provides the WRF influent to produce high-quality water for operational purposes. Operation of the WRF supports TCO initiatives related to fresh water conservation and wastewater management. This facility, commissioned in 2016, is a major component of TCO’s long-term, comprehensive water management program. TCO’s WRF treats wastewater to technical water quality via reverse osmosis. WRF is designed to produce up to 3,600 m3/day of recycled technical quality water to support TCO operations. The recycled water from operation of the WRF has increased TCO’s annual recycled water rate to over 30 percent of overall consumption.

TCO has established a Water Master Plan to document the strategy for short-, mid-, and long-term water management.

TCO is actively evaluating and executing various projects which can be grouped into the following types to manage water use:

  • Water conservation through installation of water- saving equipment in Shanyrak Village, TCO Village, and Rotational Village accommodation facilities
  • Water re-use / re-purposing
    • Ultra-filtration at New Boiler House to use in KTL SCOT water for steam generation
    • Use of alternative water sources such as groundwater and backflush water for a substantial portion of FGP technical water
  • Reliability Projects
    • Financially support installation of new technical water line from Kulsary to TCO
    • Install storage / buffer tanks in Kulsary with new Technical water line
    • WRF reliability upgrades
    • Installation of new Potable Water distribution & measurement

Land Conservation

Some soil disturbance and the formation of man-made landscapes and other land quality changes occur during production of natural resources and construction works.

TCO annually monitors technologically disturbed lands (TDL) in the TCO partnership area to identify disturbed or contaminated areas and to reclaim them at a later stage. Conditions of contaminated lands are assessed, reclamation projects are developed, and findings on revealed and reclaimed areas are reflected in ArcGIS data base and cartographic materials.

The area of reclaimed/remediated lands as of 2017 comes  to 1,327 ha, which is 94 percent of TDLs which were intended for reclamation/remediation works, most of which were lands with landscape disturbances and not contamination.

Reclamation of disturbed lands includes collection and removal of garbage, and restoration of natural landscape by repairing the natural slopes and roughness of the terrain and creating conditions to encourage the growth of natural vegetation. TDL sites naturally re-vegetate themselves after reclamation and are covered with drought-resistant and salt-sensitive vegetation in several years. TCO’s environmental reclamation of disturbed lands is part of TCO’s environmental protection strategy that demonstrates commitment to principles of corporate social responsibility.

Environmental Monitoring

TCO conducts ongoing environmental monitoring including air, water and soil to verify that TCO operations comply with RoK regulations and align with OE expectations for Environmental Stewardship. Our integrated environmental monitoring program is carried out by licensed contractors and data are analyzed by relevant TCO departments. All measurement data is done according to the TCO Industrial Control Program developed in accordance with RoK environmental requirements.

Air Monitoring

There are 12 automated stationary environmental air monitoring stations within and on the boundary of TCO Sanitary Protection Zone in Tengiz. TCO also has fixed monitoring stations in TCO Village as well as in the closest settlement, New Karaton, 95 kilometers distance from Tengiz. A mobile laboratory is used weekly to monitor the area near the plant’s emissions stacks. Readings are taken 16 kilometers upwind from the plants to identify background values for the substances being monitored. Samples are also taken 0.5 to 15 kilometers downwind from the plants and at the border of the Sanitary Protection Zone.

Groundwater Monitoring

TCO performs regular and routine industrial monitoring of groundwater to obtain information about the condition of environment and assess if there have been any impacts from production activity. The first two water-bearing horizons below ground surface are subject to routine monitoring through a network of groundwater observation wells. Unserviceable wells are decommissioned, and old or failed wells are routinely repaired or replaced with new wells to ensure a competent and comprehensive groundwater monitoring network resulting in reliable groundwater quality results.

Monitoring of Soil

There are 55 soil sampling sites identified and sampled yearly for documenting the overall and local soil quality within the TCO partnership area. Sampling sites for soil monitoring are identified considering  wind directions to understand if potential contamination may have been spread via wind from outside of the area. Location of sampling sites may slightly change depending on the composition of the soil cover, soil status and other conditions. 

Waste Water Monitoring

Monitoring of waste water, both industrial and sanitary, allows TCO to control the quality of the effluents placed in evaporation ponds and subsurface horizons (industrial water is disposed in injection wells) as well as to measure compliance with established environmental standards of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Waste water is monitored at discharge points into evaporation ponds and injection wells. Frequency of sampling and analysis of samples complies with the TCO Industrial Control Program.

Environmental Projects at FGP-WPMP

The Future Growth Project-Wellhead Pressure Management Project (FGP-WPMP), one of the largest major capital projects across the global energy industry, has commenced and is expected to increase total daily production at Tengiz by about 260,000 barrels per day to approximately 1 million barrels of oil equivalent at peak.

Within the framework of FGP-WPMP implementation, TCO supports several additional conservation actions in the region.

  • Actions to improve the Ural-Atyrau Sturgeon hatchery conditions via provision of technical workshops on hatchery process best practices, provision of quality feed for brook stock and fingerlings, provision of aerators to increase dissolved oxygen concentration in growing ponds, and purchase of excavators to improve outdoor maintenance capabilities.
  • Support conservation of critically endangered species Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus Gregarious) via financial support to the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Kazakhstan in 2018-2019.
  • Ghost Fishing Nets Removal project in collaboration with the Ghostfishing World Organization of Specialists in the Ghost Fishing nets to protect and contribute to the growth of endangered marine species, as the Caspian Sea Sturgeon via removal of ghost fishing nets in the project area, from the marine channel and artificial islands and expansion beyond the Marine Access Channel. In 2017, approximately 2.8 tons of  nets were removed and sent for recycling. Fifty-three sturgeon species released into the sea. In 2018, TCO intends to continue Caspian coastal area debris removal activities.
Removing unused nets from the Caspian Sea