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  2. Environmental advocates are accusing Rosprirodnadzor’s head of spreading false data about an oil spill near Usinsk

Environmental advocates are accusing Rosprirodnadzor’s head of spreading false data about an oil spill near Usinsk

Elena Zholobova
Muddy stream discovered by activists
The Save Pechora Committee’s photo

The Save Pechora Committee has published an appeal to Svetlana Radionova, the head of the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resource Usage (Rosprirodnadzor), concerning a leak from the LUKOIL-Komi company’s oil well near Usinsk in the Komi Republic late in May. The activists demanded an explanation of what made the head of the supervisory department state that the rock exposed form the ground had not contained any oil. The analysis carried out in a private laboratory has shown an excess of petroleum products’ maximum permissible concentration by more than 10 times.

The activists learned that dirty gray water was flowing in the stream near Usinsk in the morning of May 26. Ekaterina Dyachkova, a deputy of the Komi State Council and a member of the Save Pechora Committee, who arrived at the place, went upstream and found the source of pollution. It was an underground "geyser" near oil well No. 447, owned by LUKOIL-Komi. Dyachkova took soil and water samples there. The LUKOIL-Komi company explained that there was a spontaneous low-toxic rock exposure.

Svetlana Rodionova, the head of Rosprirodnadzor, has also stated that the liquid is low toxic. She added that the samples had shown no oil content in the exposed rock and that the rock itself belonged to the fourth class of hazard.

The Save Pechora Committee said that the Center for Laboratory Testing and Engineering Measurements subordinate to Rosprirodnadzor had refused to accept the samples taken by Ekaterina Dyachkova. They referred to the fact that they had been taken with violations. The activists gave the samples to a private laboratory. The water analysis has shown that the concentration of petroleum products is more than 10 times higher than the MPC and has indicated the second class of hazard due to the increased lead content (exceeding the MPC by more than 73 times).

Место разлива нефтесодержащей жидкости под Усинском

Floating oil spill near Usinsk. The Save Pechora Committee’s photo

The interregional Department of Rosprirodnadzor for the Komi Republic and the NAO has also confirmed the presence of petroleum products in the “geyser”. The department replied to the request of Ilya Bogdanov, a deputy of the State Council of Komi, that the MPC of petroleum products in the samples taken at the produced water outlet on May 26 was exceeded three times.

The Save Pechora Committee asked Svetlana Radionova, "Where did the head of Rosprirodnadzor actually learn about the absence of petroleum products and the fourth class of hazard? And what happened to the impurities in the stream course 1.5 kilometers before its confluence with the Kolva?" and demanded that she find out why there was misinformation of citizens, provide complete and reliable information about the floating oil spill near Usinsk, and put the offenders to justice.


The last major oil spill, having affected the region, occurred at the LUKOIL’s oil field in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug on May 11. Oil has got into the Kolva, Usa, and Pechora rivers because of this. A regime of emergency was imposed in three districts of Komi. Environmentalists of the Save Pechora Committee compared the oil spill to one that happened in October 2020 and called the residents of Komi for speaking out against the "uncivilized" oil production in the republic. One-person pickets were held in Komi and Arkhangelsk Oblast. A case was initiated against the participants of the last rally.

The LUKOIL-Komi Company reported 100 tons of spilled petroleum products. But, according to social activists, oil workers possibly lowered this number at least four times. After the accident, Vladimir Uyba, the head of the Komi Republic, visited outraged residents of the villages of Kolva and Mutny Materik. At the second meeting, in response to a resident's comment about the necessity to contact President Vladimir Putin, he said, "I am Putin for you."

7x7’s special correspondent Maxim Polyakov has been to Kolva to learn about life in the village which oil film passes by almost every year.

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