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Five Kilometers of Indifference

Crude Accountability presents the film, “Five Kilometers of Indifference”, which the villagers’ of Berezovka in western Kazakhstan struggle for relocation from their dangerous proximity to one of the world’s largest oil and gas condensate fields: Karachaganak. Karachaganak is being developed by the consortium Karachaganak Petroleum Operating, B.V. (KPO), which comprises the companies BG Group (United Kingdom), ENI (Italy), Chevron (USA), Lukoil (Russia), and Kazgmunaigaz (Kazakhstan).

The active development of the field has led to intense pollution of the environment, which causes health problems for the residents of Berezovka, half of whom suffer from chronic illness. The villagers are under constant threat of an accident at the Karachaganak Field; the gas in the field has a high level of hydrogen sulfide. In addition to the intense environmental degradation, a new phenomenon recently occurred: sink holes in the earth around the field. Regardless of KPO's statements about significant social investments, the residents continue to live in a village with poor infrastructure and they register their dissatisfaction with the results of the company's social investment projects in Berezovka.

The situation with Berezovka illustrates to what extent international corporations and state bodies in Kazakhstan are ready to violate the standards of national and international legislation for the sake of oil and gas extraction. The illegal reduction of the five kilometer sanitary protection zone around the field and the violation of the Berezovka residents' legal right to relocation is a sharp example.

The entire history of Berezovka is a history of the enormous gap in the relationship between society, the state and business in Kazakhstan. How it will end, whether the five kilometers of indifference will continue, depends on all of the participants in the story.

Local residents from Berezovka took part in the film, as did Lukpan Akhmediarov, a journalist with the newspaper, Uralsk Weekly.


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