New Russian Pipeline Spill Imperils The Komi Region

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New Russian Pipeline Spill Imperils The Komi Region

Wed, 05/19/2021 - 14:21
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 Spilled oil around the oil pipeline (copyright by Shutterstock / Leonid Ikan)
Spilled oil around the oil pipeline (copyright by Shutterstock / Leonid Ikan)

Rosprirodnadzor, the Russian regulator part of the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation, has reported a pipeline spill of some 100 tons in Russia's northwestern region of Komi. The leak flowed into Kolva, a local river, creating an oil slick requiring immediate attention.

Lukoil said a clean-up operation was under way following a leak at a pipeline leading from its Oshskoe field to facilities that serve the Kharyaga field in a neighboring region.

The energy-rich Komi region witnessed one of the worst oil spills in Russian history in August, 1994, when its aging pipeline network sprang a leak that was officially said to have totaled 79,000 tons, or 585,000 barrels. Independent estimates put the figure at up to 2 million barrels.  

There is a long history of oil in the northwestern Komi Republic, located near the Barents Sea above the Arctic Circle. It was here, back in the 15th century, that Russian oil was first mentioned. In the 1960s, the town of Usinsk was a settlement for oil workers, but two decades later it had become a city built around one industry.

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