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  2. LUKOIL has reported about 100 tons of petroleum products spilled in the north-east of Komi. Social activists consider this number to be underestimated

LUKOIL has reported about 100 tons of petroleum products spilled in the north-east of Komi. Social activists consider this number to be underestimated

Elena Zholobova
Oil in the Pechora river near the village of Mutny Materik, May 15, 2021
Photo by Alexander Nemchinov
Источник: Save Pechora Committee

About 100 tons of floating oil have leaked into the soil and the Kolva river as a result of an accident at an oil-gathering line in the Komi Republic. The administration of Usinsk reported this with reference to LUKOIL-Komi’s press relations service.

According to the company, oil was spilled at a distance of about 300 m from the shoreline of the Kolva river, so most of the floating oil (according to preliminary estimates, about 90 tons) spread to the soil, occupying a natural lowland near the leak site. Another 9 tons of petroleum products, according to the press relations service of LUKOIL-Komi, got into the water area of the Kolva river.

"The leak was quickly contained on-shore. The territory is currently being cleaned up, after which technical and then biological reclamation will be carried out on the site," the company said. "Gathering oil from the water surface is organized at seven response lines. Modern high-performance sorbing materials of domestic and imported production are sprayed throughout the site. The used sorbent is gathered from the river surface using booms and manually. Petroleum products, contaminated ice, and used sorbents are exported to specialized factory waste landfills."

The press relations service of LUKOIL-Komi added that more than 230 people and more than 70 units of equipment were involved in the work.

 
 
 
Oil in the Kolva river’s mouth, morning of May 16, 2021Oil in the Kolva river’s mouth, morning of May 16, 2021
Oil in the Kolva river’s mouth, morning of May 16, 2021Oil in the Kolva river’s mouth, morning of May 16, 2021

In the north-east of Komi, on May 11, the authorities imposed a regime of emergency due to an oil spill on the border with the Nenets Autonomous Okrug (NAO). Iridescent film was found on the surface of the Kolva river near the fourth bridge. The official data consider an oil gathering main of one of Oshsky Oil Field's wells to be the source of pollution. The Criminal Investigations Directorate for Arkhangelsk Oblast and NAO opened a criminal case on the fact of the oil spill.

Social activists of the Komi Republic have been monitoring the situation on the Kolva river since the oil spill was found. According to the Save Pechora Committee, oil from Oshsky Oil Field has traveled about 160 km along the Kolva river, about 20 km along the Usa river, and about 140 km along the Pechora river. All these rivers are of commercial fishing importance.

On the evening of May 15, Nikolai Bratenkov, a former deputy of the Komi State Council and one of the founders of the Save Pechora Committee Environmental Movement, reported that the oil had reached the village of Charkabozh upon the Pechora river.

"Water rises, and film is cast ashore. The latest data say that a total of about 100 tons of oil has spilled. Working with LUKOIL for more than 30 years, I am convinced that they, as always, are considerably underestimating the volume of spilled oil. The Save Pechora Committee is outraged by another accident. Oil flows from regularly patched oil pipes, which LUKOIL is changing at such a slow pace that the overall situation is getting worse every year," he commented on the situation.

 
 
 
Oil gathering at the Kolva river’s mouth, morning of May 16, 2021Oil gathering at the Kolva river’s mouth, morning of May 16, 2021
Oil gathering at the Kolva river’s mouth, morning of May 16, 2021Oil gathering at the Kolva river’s mouth, morning of May 16, 2021
Oil gathering at the Kolva river’s mouth, morning of May 16, 2021Oil gathering at the Kolva river’s mouth, morning of May 16, 2021

 

In the morning of May 16, the Save Pechora Committee shared photos and videos from the mouth of the Kolva river, taken by local residents. They show fragments of a boom (a floating barrier for the containment of petroleum products) and people who gather oil from the water's edge manually. Earlier, the Chairman of the Save Pechora Committee Ivan Ivanov explained to 7x7 that it was impossible to place the booms over the entire width of the river, as they were demolished by ice floes running on the water.


The last major oil spill was in the Komi Republic in the autumn of 2020. Then, the authorities of Usinsk imposed a regime of emergency due to petroleum products spill into the Kolva river. The contamination was caused by a leak at an inactive oil pipeline of Kharyaginsky Oil Field in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug (NAO).

There was the largest on-shore oil spill ever in the Usinsk District of Komi in 1994. Then, hundreds of hectares of land were contaminated with oil due to an accident on the Vozey — Golovnye Sooruzheniya (‘Head Facilities’) Pipeline. The oil spill entered the Guinness Book of World Records.

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