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Save Pechora Committee demands to stop the exploitation of oil wells in the Alabushin oil field site by Lukoil-Komi
Save Pechora Committee demands to stop the exploitation of oil wells in the Alabushin oil field site by Lukoil-Komi  
[19 2017. 10:13]
It has already been several days of unsuccessful efforts to cease the fire at oil wells of the Alabushin oil field site in the Usinsk municipal district of the Komi Republic. Save Pechora Committee has analysed the situation and directed relevant appeals to the Head of the Komi Republic, to the Prosecutor of the Komi Republic and the regional department of the Rosprirodnadzor.

The uncontrolled release of the gas-oil mixture began on April 10th. It is accompanied by a fire and poses a serious threat to the Pechora River, the surrounding swamps and lakes, to life and health of local population. On this day, Save Pechora Committee received several messages from rural settlements of the Usinsk municipal district. The residents of villages Shelyabozh and Novikbozh reported that for last 5-6 hours they were observing a thick black smoke in the area of the infamous oil field Severo-Ipataskaya prone for flooding (for some reasons it has been recently renamed as Alabushin oil field). The field is located between the villages of Shelyabozh and Kushshor on the opposite bank of the Pechora River. The messages were supported by photographs taken from the above-mentioned villages.

At 12.37 pm on April 10th, the fire was reported on the website of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Komi Republic.
It described the situation as "a technological incident with the fire on the oil well 2P of the Alabushin oil field of Lukoil-Komi. It was also reported that 24 persons and 9 units of machinery and emergency equipment were sent to the area.

In the following days, information about the ongoing fire appeared in the media, both in republican and federal.

The so-called "incident" continues today. Contradictory information is published in the media and on departmental websites.
In particular, Lukoil-Komi is not stated as a subsoil user, although it is reliably known that the oil field is located within the licensed area of ​​the Denisovskaya depression, which is operated by Lukoil-Komi, the license number SIC13209NR. Further, only fire on one oil well is mentioned in the media and official reports, however, as the activists of the Save Pechora Committee has documented (see video) there are two nearby oil wells that are under fire. Many other details are also not mentioned (e.g., the explosion of a 10 cubic meters container with fuel that accompanied the fire and some casualties).

The official information says that the distance from the burning well to the town of Usinsk is 160 km. At the same time, it is not mentioned that the closest settlements are the villages of Kushshor (7.8 km), Novikbozh (26 km) and the village of Shelyabozh (8 km). The town of Usinsk is not yet threatened.

Indignation is also due to the fact that the situation is classified as an incident (incident - failure or damage to technical equipment used at a hazardous production facility, deviation from the established technological process - Article 1 of the Federal Law on Industrial safety of hazardous production facilities). Whereas this is not an incident, but an accident - as destruction of structures and (or) technical equipment used at a hazardous production facility, an uncontrolled explosion and (or) the release of hazardous substances.

According to local residents, the main victims of such incidents, the road to the burning oil wells is blocked by the security service of LUKOIL-Komi. Objective information about the situation is hidden.

Finally, the most important is that the fire is accompanied by the release of a large volume of oil products, as well as combustion products, which spread to a significant radius from the failed facility. This will inevitably lead to the intense pollution of the Pechora River with the beginning of intensive melting of snow. It should also be taken into account that the site is located in the floodplain of the river and has been flooded repeatedly. It will exacerbate the situation spreading pollution to a much larger area: to lakes where local residents are fishing - places that are the source of livelihoods for unemployed rural population.

In addition, according to the information available to the Save Pechora Committee (it requires confirmation), at least 16,800 cubic meters of hydrogen sulphide can be emitted daily from only one failed oil well as the gas-oil mixture, which poses a threat to lives and health of residents of nearby villages.

The Save Pechora Committee believes that the inconsistency of the information about the accident, the incorrect qualification of the event, the silence of the causes of the accident and the operator of the burning wells, the lack of information on environmental contamination with petroleum products indicate an attempt by LUKOIL-Komi to hide the causes and the extent of the ongoing accident, with the goal of escaping responsibility.

In our appeal to the Head of the Republic of Komi, to the republican Prosecutor office, to Rosprirodnadzor, the Save Committee Pechora demands:
1. Objective designation of the event, the disclosure of the causes of the accident and reliable information about its consequences.
2. Demanding the owner of the failed oil well - LUKOIL-Komi - information about the condition of the emergency well before the accident; demanding the Russian Federal Geological Fund for data on the chemical composition of the Alabushin oil field, the percentage of hydrogen sulphide, and the publication of these data.
3. Announcement of the emergency in the municipal district of Usinsk based on monitoring.
4. Conducting an objective assessment of the extent of pollution due to an accident.
5. Conducting at the expense of the company a comprehensive medical examination of the inhabitants of Shelyabozh, Kushshora, and Novikbozh.
6. Termination of the exploitation of this site of the Alabushin oil field by Lukoil-Komi due to regular emergencies at this facility and the permanent threat to life and health of rural residents.
7. The prosecution of officials who have committed concealment of information about circumstances that endanger lives of people and their health.

Press release of the Save Pechora Committee

April 14, 2017.

Photo by Ekaterina Dyachkova

Video by Ekaterina Dyachkova

Save Pechora Committee
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