There was a floating oil spill at Kharyaginsky Oil Field in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug on December 25. It was discovered by activists of the Save Pechora Committee. On December 26, a working party went to the accident site and assessed the impact and quantity of pollution.
According to the Save Pechora Committee, the break of the oil pipeline, owned by LUKOIL, occurred near modular cluster pump stations on the night of December 25. By 10AM, the spill was still not contained. The Department of Natural Resources, Ecology and Agro-Industrial Complex of NAO claims that the loss of piping integrity occurred in the morning of December 25, and the spill was contained at noon.
“The rapid change of temperature could presumably cause the incident," the department said in a statement. “The site of the spill is remote from settlements and reservoirs. The spill’s volume was about 110 cubic meters of liquid. The results of the inspection show that floating oil is located on top of the snowpack due to low temperatures and has not penetrated into the soil. According to experts of Rosprirodnadzor [Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resource Usage], taking soil samples after the snow melts will be advisable to confirm this information.”
According to the authorities of NAO, the spilled petroleum products and snow at the accident site are being collected manually and using equipment, after which they are taken to a special storage. These works are going to take several more days.
Damage to the environment will be determined after taking samples and conducting research. Albert Chabdarov, the head of the relevant district department, said that he would “urge oil workers to be more responsible when monitoring the technical condition of their infrastructure.”
This is the fourth accident on LUKOIL's pipelines officially recorded in the Komi Republic and the Nenets Autonomous district within three months.
Members of the Save Pechora Committee are sure that the situation with oil spills is not going to improve without changing the legal framework.
“We believe that the law on mandatory replacement of worn-out pipelines older than 10 years is a vital necessity. Endless breaks and leaks are the most obvious proof of this,” social activists stated.
In October 2020, petroleum products spilled into the Kolva river after a leak on an oil pipeline in Kharyaginsky Oil Field. A regime of emergency had to be imposed in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug and in the town of Usinsk.
In early December, there was an oil spill in the Ukhta District due to the depressurization of a pipeline, owned by LUKOIL-Komi. Two weeks later, an accident of the same kind was discovered in that district.