According to regional authorities, the spill started following a loss of pressure in one of the pipelines leading from the Kharyaga oil field, a major project on the Nenets tundra. The field 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. Welders worked at the pipeline and a fire broke out in connection with the spill. The fire was extinguished after an hour, the press service of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug informs.
In a meeting this week, Nenets regional authorities expressed concern about the late warning about the spill from the oil company. The spill took place on Thursday, but regional authorities were informed only on Friday.
About two tons of oil spilled onto the tundra in connection with the accident, RIA Novosti reports. The pipeline is operated by Lukoil and its regional subsidiary Lukoil-Usinskneftegaz.
The spill is the third in a year. As previously reported, similar spills happened both in October 2012 and April 2013.
The Kharyaga field holds about 160 million tons of oil. Total production in 2012 amounted to about 1,5 million tons.
As previously reported, the spills could be connected with new pipelines laid in the area. Seeking a new export route for the oil, Lukoil recently connected the Kharyaga with existing pipeline grid in the area. The new 156 km long pipeline connection from Kharyaga to the Varandey terminal on the Pechora Sea coast was opened in fall 2012.