Big oil spill on the tundra

The Trebs field installations on the Nenets tundra are now covered by spilled oil. Photo:

For more than 36 hours, the Bashneft company had no control over its Trebs oil field on the Nenets tundra.


The major spill is now polluting big areas around the field installations and might spread into the local waterways.

According to a representative of local Nenets authorities, an estimated 2200 tons of oil spilled out over a 1,5 square kilometer area. The uncontrolled spill started on Friday at around 17:30 and was stopped only at Sunday morning, RIA Novosti reports.

According to Vladimir Tsybin, leader of environmental department in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug, a 25 meter high oil fountain could be seen at the field all through Saturday. He believes the spill took place because the workers at the site were insufficiently prepared and that they did not dispose needed instruments. –The operations were not well organized, he concluded at a meeting, reports.

According to the Russian Nature Control Agency (Rosprirodnadzor), the spill has polluted the local reindeer pasture lands, but does not directly threaten the waterways in the region, Vedomosti reports.

According to Greenpeace Russia, the spill is of such a magnitude that it is likely to be followed up by the federal Technical Inspection Agency (Rostekhnadzor).  Otherwise, a number of oil spills are left unnoticed, Greenpeace representative Vladimir Chuprov told RIA Novosti. –More than 20.000 oil spills take place every year in Russia and most of them do not have any consequences for the companies, he says.

The Trebs oil field is operated by the Bashneft-Polyus, a joint venture between Bashneft and Lukoil. The field has an estimated 140 million tons of reserves and was obtained by Bashneft in a tender in 2010. The company has not yet issued any official information about the spill on its website.

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