Rosneft is Russia’s worst oil polluter

Russia's biggest oil polluter, state-owned Rosneft, will soon start up activities on the Arctic shelf. Illustration photo:

The company, which has got carte blanch on Russia’s Arctic shelf, is a bad polluter in the country’s main oil producing region.


A report from the Russian Environmental Control Agency (Rosprirodnadzor) shows that Rosneft is the by far worst polluter in the Khanti-Mansiisk region, Russia’s top oil producing province. The company in 2011 had a total of 2727 registered spills in the region, which amounts to 75 percent of all cases reported.

Descriptions made by former minister of Natural Resources Yuri Trutnev speaks for themselves:

“The ground was practically covered by oil. We did not have to look for polluted spots, but instead had to look for areas without pollution. Everywhere were oil rivers, lakes, dams, carelessly abandoned traits of accidents”.

Trutnev described the situation after a visit to the region in April this year, Vedomosti reports.

According to Rosprirodnadzor, Surgutneftegaz is the company, which has the least number of spills in the region, only 17 in 2011, while Lukoil is the company which over the last three years most successfully has managed to reduce the number of accidents (from 117 to 46). Rosneft is the worst also in this part of the statistics. In the period from 2009 to 2011, the company only slightly managed to reduce the number of spills. Of the four main oil companies in the region, Rosneft is also the one, which spends the least on environmental protection measures, Vedomosti informs.

One of the reasons for the high number of spills is the degrading state of the Russian pipelines, a Russian oil company representative says to the newspaper. According to the source, the companies do not have sufficient incentives for improving the situation. The authorities do not provide tax incentives and the pollution fines are low, he says.

The spills are serious not only for the affected areas, but potentially also for major parts of the Russian Arctic. The Ob river, one of Russia’s biggest, runs through the region and could easily bring oil spills all the way into the Ob Bay and further into the Kara Sea.

Rosneft is the company, which will the driving force in the development of oil fields on Russia’s Arctic shelf. Over the last months, the company has signed partnership agreements with Statoil, Eni and ExxonMobile over huge projects in the Barents Sea and Kara Sea.