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  2. LUKOIL pays all the damage for an oil spill in the Kolva River in Komi, activists calling the extent of damages "agreed"

LUKOIL pays all the damage for an oil spill in the Kolva River in Komi, activists calling the extent of damages "agreed"

Ivan Zhuravkov
7x7’s archive

LUKOIL-Komi has voluntarily paid more than 130 million rubles for an oil spill in the Kolva River in May 2021. Then, according to the company, about 100 tons of oil spilled onto the ground due to a pipeline breakthrough, 9 of which got into the water. In September, the company already paid more than 374 million rubles of compensation for the accident. Thus, its total amount was more than half a billion rubles. At the same time, eco-activists in Komi called the damage collected from the company "agreed" and stated that the amount of compensation was not related to nature restoration. Ivan Ivanov, the head of the Save Pechora Committee, reported this to 7x7.

On October 21, Svetlana Radionova, the head of Rosprirodnadzor (Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resource Usage), reported on Instagram that LUKOIL-Komi had paid 130 million 69 thousand rubles for the damage to soils due to the oil spill at «the Kolvinsky Oil Field». She noted that the company had already compensated more than 374 million 186 thousand rubles for the damage to the Kolva River. According to her, the company has fully compensated for the damage to nature after the second payment. Thus, its amount exceeded 504 million 876 thousand rubles.

Ivan Ivanov, the chairman of the oldest environmental movement in Komi, the Save Pechora Committee, told 7x7 in an interview  that the recovered damage was not related to the restoration of disturbed natural complexes. He added that eco-activists did not know the basic data and methods of calculating damage used by Rosprirodnadzor. But, according to him, going by the publications in the state media about the contamination area being 1.3 hectares, officials could have not taken 208 km of the Kolva Rivers' polluted bank, as well as the Usa and Pechora river's banks into account.

Ivanov noted that in August (three months after the accident), activists had conducted an independent investigation expedition to the oil spill sites and found contamination almost 400 km from the accident site. He added that, according to activists, the amount of oil that leaked to the surface due to a pipeline breakthrough could have been several times more than 100 tons.

"Therefore, the amount of damage may be at least an order greater. I consider the amount of damage to be 'agreed', that is, it suits LUKOIL and does not require Rosprirodnadzor to prove it in courts. This penalty also has no preventive effect, that is, it does not stimulate the violator to take measures to prevent oil spills in the future," Ivan Ivanov told 7x7.

In September, Vladimir Chuprov, the Project Director at Greenpeace in Russia, commenting on LUKOIL's compensation for damage to the water body, also assumed that 500 to 800 tons of oil could have got into the water, oil workers having reported only 9. He added that in this case, the extent of damages to nature would have been more than 1 billion rubles, or 1/15 of LUKOIL's quarterly profits. The ecologist pointed out that the compensation of 375 million rubles was unlikely to affect the company's environmental policy.

Officials of the Komi Republic imposed a regime of emergency in two districts and the town of Usinsk after an oil spill at LUKOIL-Komi’s Oshsky Oil Field. The oil got into the Kolva, Usa, and Pechora rivers due to the oil spill. The company reported a spill of almost 100 tons of oil, 9 tons having got into water bodies. The Save Pechora Committee’s activists considered that the oil workers had possibly underestimated the figures at least four times. With the help of Moscow scientists, journalists found out that the hazardous substances' concentration in the Kolva was 500 times over the limit.

In addition to the compensation for the oil spill that Rosprirodnadzor acted to collect, the court fined Yunis Zarifullin, the head of the department of health, safety and environmental protection of LUKOIL-Komi’s office, for 14 thousand rubles. He was charged with the failure to meet the demands of rules regarding prevention and liquidation of emergency situations.


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