Russia's ongoing oil spills.
Posted 20 December 2011 - 04:19 AM
This is the face of Russia's oil country, a sprawling, inhospitable zone that experts say
represents the world's worst ecological oil catastrophe.
Environmentalists estimate at least 1 percent of Russia's annual oil production, or 5 million tons,
is spilled every year.
That is equivalent to one Deepwater Horizon-scale leak about every two months.
Crumbling infrastructure and a harsh climate combine to spell disaster in the world's largest oil producer, responsible for 13 percent of global output.
Oil, stubbornly seeping through rusty pipelines and old wells, contaminates soil, kills all plants that grow on it and destroys habitats for mammals and birds.
Half a million tons every year get into rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean, the government says, upsetting the delicate environmental balance in those waters.
Oil spills in Russia are less dramatic than disasters in the Gulf of Mexico or the North Sea, more the result of a drip-drip of leaked crude than a sudden explosion.
But they're more numerous than in any other oil-producing nation including insurgency-hit Nigeria, and combined they spill far more than anywhere else in the world, scientists say.
Greenpeace estimates that at least 5 million tons leak every year in a country producing about
500 million tons a year.
The Russian Economic Development Ministry in a report last year estimated spills at up to 20 million tons per year.
That astonishing number, for which the ministry offered no elaboration, appears to be based partly on the fact most small leaks in Russia go unreported. Under Russian law, leaks of less than 8 tons are classified only as "incidents" and carry no penalties.
Weather conditions in most oil provinces are brutal, with temperatures routinely dropping below minus 40 degrees Celsius (minus 40 Fahrenheit) in winter. That makes pipelines brittle and prone to rupture unless they are regularly replaced and their condition monitored.
Asked by The Associated Press to comment, the Natural Resources Ministry and the Energy Ministry said they have no data on oil spills and referred to the other ministry for further inquiries.
Even counting only the 500,000 tons officially reported to be leaking into northern rivers every year, Russia is by far the worst oil polluter in the world."
Posted 22 December 2011 - 03:23 PM
Posted 24 December 2011 - 02:48 PM
Posted 24 December 2011 - 05:16 PM
Posted 25 December 2011 - 03:27 AM
This misery from oil must stop.
(Even if a turbine blade fell off and laid there rusting, it would put iron back into the soil=good thing.)
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