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Oil spill at Kharyaga

Oil last week spilled from pipes leading to the Kharyaga field in the Nenets tundra. Photo: BarentsObserver

An oil spill is polluting the tundra near the Kharyaga field in northern Russia.

Location

A total of 3,5 square kilometers of tundra has been polluted by the spill, which took place on October 2. The spill was caused by a loss of pressure in a pipe installation, RIA Novosti reports.

About 30 people now work on the site to clean up the spilled oil. Also specialists from Lukoil have been engaged, a representative of the local Ministry of Emergency Situations informs. The cleanup operation is planned completed in the course of two weeks.

The Kharyaga project holds about 160 million tons of oil. It contains a total of six layers, of which four are operated by Lukoil. The remaining two levels are operated by a consortium of Total (40%),  Statoil (30%), Zarubezhneft (20%) and the Nenets Oil Company (10%) based on a Production Sharing Agreement.

The spilled oil does not come from a pipe which belongs to the Kharyaga partners, representatives of Total and Statoil told BarentsObserver. 

The responsibility for the spill might lie at Lukoil, which recently opened a new pipeline connection between Kharyaga and the company’s Yuzhno Khilchuyu field, enabling the Kharyaga owners to export their oil though the port terminal of Varandey.