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Regime of emergency was imposed in the North-East of Komi due to petroleum products spill

Ivan Zhuravkov
Environmental Investigations Bureau/vk.com
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The Usinsk Town Administration (the North-East of the Komi Republic) has imposed a municipal regime of emergency due to petroleum products spill into the Kolva river. The contamination was caused by a leak on an inactive oil pipeline of Kharyaginsky Oil Field in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug (NAO). The relevant information has been published on the administration's website.

According to the Ministry of Emergency Management’s Main Directorate for the Komi Republic, during aerial reconnaissance, rescuers found iridescent film on the surface of the Kolva river in Usinsk. To prevent further contamination, they have installed four containment booms in the NAO and Komi (two in each), and it is planned to put a fifth booms line as a preventive measure. LUKOIL-Usinskneftegaz and the Priroda (‘Nature’) Emergency and Rescue Organization have been involved into the oil spill response. Rescuers are collecting iridescent film using a sorbent. The Ministry of Emergency Management stated that there was no threat of oil products entering the water intake on the territory of Usinsk.

The Save Pechora Committee (SPC) Movement reported an accident at the oil field back on October 17. Environmentalists claimed that the rescuers of Priroda allegedly had not had any oil spillage recovery means and metering instruments. The SPC believes that it is impossible to determine the volume of the spill because of this. The Save Pechora Committee criticized local officials who had officially announced the regime of emergency's imposition only 15 hours after the accident had been reported.

The Head of the Ministry of Natural Resources of Komi Roman Polshvedkin told the Podyom (‘Rise’) Newspaper that the petroleum products spill into the Kolva river "was certainly not a disaster." He did not mention the specific volume of leaked petroleum products, adding that the story "has got so much", that is why the Ministry of Natural Resources is going to speak on the incident in details in a short while "to remove all gossip".

Telegram Channel “Life Shot”, citing a source in the Komi Ministry of Emergency Management, says that the LUKOIL-Komi Company reported a spill of 0.9 cubic meter in Kharyaginsky Oil Field to the agency. The Directorate of the Investigation Committee for Arkhangelsk Oblast and the NAO opened a criminal case under the article on violation of the rules for environmental protection during the performance of works (Article 246 of the Criminal Code) in response to the incident. Investigators are establishing all the facts of the crime, and a crime scene investigation team has responded to the site.

The largest on-shore oil spill ever occurred 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. In 2016, Greenpeace employees recorded a new oil spill near Usinsk, but noted a positive trend in the reclamation of contaminated lands.


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