Common Goal | 342 (July-August 2018)

LUKOIL remains a leader among IOCs working to preserve the environment in Central Asia. Oil Journal reports from this year’s Central Asian International Ecological Forum in Tashkent.

2018-07-20 19:00 Views 460

Uzbekistan’s capital of Tashkent hosted one of the region’s most important ecological events on this year’s World Environment Day: the Central Asian International Ecological Forum. The event encompasses representatives from the government, NGOs and private investors. This year’s organizers wanted to not only share their experiences in solving environmental and social problems, but also bring new technology and investments to the region.

This year’s event brought the Green Ecology Technologies Central Asia (GETCA-2018) event to Uzbekistan’s capital for the first time. LUKOIL Uzbekistan’s Head of Ecology, Mr. Dmitry Kim, shared the company’s efforts at environmental protection with participants.

Investing into the environment is not some symbolic ritual for the governments of Central Asia; it’s a necessity. The region continues to face the consequences of the Aral Sea drought and subsequent desertification. Over 100 million tons of dust containing salt and dangerous chemicals are annually released from the seabed and spread to inhabited areas beyond Central Asia. Scientists have even discovered traces of Aral Sea dust as far away as Antarctica.

That’s why this year’s forum dedicated an event to the consequences of the Aral Sea’s drought called the Mutual Action Plan for Limiting the Effects of the Aral Catastrophe: New Approaches, Innovative Solutions, Investments.


The Aral Sea

The Aral Sea

The Aral Sea was an endorheic lake lying between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Formerly one of the four largest lakes in the world, the Aral Sea has been shrinking since the 1960s after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet irrigation projects. Between 20 and 40 thousand tons of fish are caught in the sea annually.

By 1997, it had declined to 10% of its original size, splitting into four lakes – the North Aral Sea, the eastern and western basins of the once far larger South Aral Sea, and one smaller intermediate lake. In an ongoing effort in Kazakhstan to save and replenish the North Aral Sea, a dam project was completed in 2005; in 2008, the water level in this lake had risen by 12 m (39 ft) compared to 2003.

Source: Wikipedia


Forum participants, including LUKOIL Uzbekistan’s own representatives, discussed landscaping options for the Aral seabed and Amu Darya delta such as structurally securing sands, creating fish reservoirs, making pastures for wild animals and setting up protected areas.

The Aral Sea

Some of them ended up visiting the Aral Sea itself, including its ship graveyard on the empty seabed, to familiarize themselves with the ecological situation there personally. They met with residents, NGO representatives and local government officials.

Head of Uzbekistan’s State Forestry Committee Khodzhiakbar Tolipov: “The most accessible and convenient way to stabilize the ecological situation around the Aral Sea is to create forests. The area of the Sea’s exposed seabed is 5.5 million hectares, 3.5 million of which are on our country’s territory. If we turn 2 million of those hectares into forest, the environmental situation will noticeably change for the better.”

Lukoil #342 (July-August 2018)

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