A burst oil pipeline in the Yuzhno-Oshskoye field caused up to 1,000 cubic meters of oil to spill into the Kolva River. This was stated on Monday, July 3, 2023 Svetlana Rodionova, head of Rosprirodnadzor, Russia’s national agency for monitoring natural resources environment, industry and nuclear affairs. According to her, the company “Nobel Oil”, which owns the pipeline, is responsible for the leakage.
“We learned about the oil spill from environmental activists on Social Media and the local Ministry of Natural Resources,” Rodionova said on her Telegram channel. She explained that petroleum products that ended up on the ground and in the water cause severe damage to the surrounding. The extent of the actual damage is difficult to estimate at present. Authorities and emergency personnel are currently working to remove the contaminated soil and to bind and remove the spilled oil.
Svetlana Rodionova further stated that her agency will seek an unscheduled inspection and also conduct water and soil sampling at the site of the oil spill for laboratory testing.
The oil spill was discovered the day before, on July 2, in Komi near Ussinsk. As the cause of the incident, the authorities cited the failure of an oil field pipeline operated by “Nobel Oil”.
Aerial surveillance of the area by plane revealed that the source of the pollution was located between borehole 1 and the shut-off valve group, about 500 meters from the Kolva River. The municipality declared a maximum emergency and the municipality asked residents not to use water from the Kolva River.
“Nobel Oil” operates in the fields of Western Siberia and the Timan-Pechora oil and gas province in Komi. According to its website, it provides services to four extraction companies. Along with this, work is underway on seven oil and gas fields, and geological explorations are being carried out in 5 license areas.
The situation is also being monitored in the neighboring Nenets Autonomous Okrug. The district authorities ordered to establish a monitoring post at the water border between the neighboring regions and to take water samples daily. The prosecutor’s office has since launched an investigation into the incident. The causes and circumstances of the leakage into the Kolva River are also being investigated by the Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Komi Republic.
The incident is reminiscent of the accident near Norilsk in June 2020, when around 21,000 tons of diesel spilled from a ruptured tank into the nearby Ambarnaya River. Investigations by the authorities into the company responsible, Norilsk Nickel, found that construction defects and a lack of maintenance work on the tank facilities were responsible for the disaster. The operator was subsequently condemned to pay a fine of several billion rubles. The damage caused to nature by the accident was estimated at the time by environmental organizations such as Greenpeace and WWF, as well as by Rosprirodnadzor, at around 148 billion rubles (about 1.5 billion euros).
Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal
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