26. Contingent, commitments and operating risks
Kazakhstan's tax legislation and regulations are subject to ongoing changes and varying interpretations. Instances of inconsistent opinions between local, regional and national tax authorities are not unusual. The current regime of penalties and interest related to reported and discovered violations of Kazakhstan's tax laws are severe. Penalties are generally 50% of the taxes additionally assessed and interest is assessed at the refinancing rate established by the National Bank of Kazakhstan multiplied by 2.5. As a result, penalties and interest can amount to multiples of any assessed taxes. Fiscal periods remain open to review by tax authorities for five calendar years preceding the year of review. Under certain circumstances reviews may cover longer periods. Because of the uncertainties associated with Kazakhstan's tax system, the ultimate amount of taxes, penalties and interest, if any, may be in excess of the amount expensed to date and accrued at December 31, 2012. As at December 31, 2012 management believes that its interpretation of the relevant legislation is appropriate and that it is probable that the Group's tax position will be sustained.
Abandonment and site restoration (decommissioning)
As Kazakh laws and regulations concerning site restoration and cleanup evolve, the Group may incur future costs, the amount of which is currently indeterminable. Such costs, when known, will be provided for as new information, legislation and estimates evolve.
The Group may also be subject to loss contingencies relating to regional environmental claims that may arise from the past operations of the related fields in which it operates. As Kazakh laws and regulations evolve concerning environmental assessments and site restoration, the Group may incur future costs, the amount of which is currently indeterminable.
As at December 31, 2012 the Group had contractual capital commitments in the amount of US$ 23,088 thousand (2011: US$ 17,880 thousand) mainly in respect to the Group's oil field development activities.
Zhaikmunai LLP entered into a cancellable lease agreement for the main administrative office in Uralsk in October 2007 for a period of 20 years at US$ 15 thousand per month.
In March 2010 the Partnership entered into an agreement on lease of 200 railway tank wagons for transportation of LPG and other hydrocarbon products for a period of 7 years for KZT 6,989 (equivalent of US$ 47) per day per one wagon.
Social and education commitments
As required by the Contract (as amended by, inter alia, Supplement #9), Zhaikmunai LLP is obliged to:
(i) spend US$ 300 thousand per annum to finance social infrastructure;
(ii) perform repair and reconstruction of state automobile roads for the amount of US$ 12,000 thousand in 2012;
(iii) make an accrual of one percent of the capital expenditure per annum for the purposes of educating Kazakh citizens; and
(iv) adhere to a spending schedule on education which lasts until (and including) 2020.
Domestic oil sales
In accordance with Supplement #7 to the Contract, the Partnership is required to sell at least 15% of produced oil on the domestic market on a monthly basis for which prices are materially lower than export prices.