Russia blames TNK-BP for massive oil leaks

Apr 19, 2012
View of an oil field in Siberia
View of an oil field in Siberia. Russia's environment minister on Thursday blamed Russian-British oil company TNK-BP for causing massive oil pollution in a resource-rich Siberian region and failing to invest in its infrastructure.

Russia's environment minister on Thursday blamed Russian-British oil company TNK-BP for causing massive oil pollution in a resource-rich Siberian region and failing to invest in its infrastructure.

"We looked at TNK-BP's activities, because... they operate the biggest share of polluted lands (2,200 hectares/5,435 acres)," Yury Trutnev, Russia's natural resources and environment minister, told Prime Minister at a government meeting.

Trutnev had just returned from the Khanty-Mansiysk region where he inspected environmental violations at the Samotlor oil field. On Wednesday he said that he found TNK-BP's environmental policies "poor".

"Pipes should not leak, there should not be oil on the ground," he said after touring the area in a helicopter.

He also accused TNK-BP of "trying to avoid government control" and gave the company one month to clean up the spills from the polluted 2,200 hectares.

The company leaks oil into Russia's mighty Ob and Yenisey rivers, Trutnev told Putin at the meeting, adding that it has plenty of money to rebuild its rusty oil pipe infrastructure.

"They have plenty of financial resources to triple investment and bring their infrastructure to norm in five to seven years," the minister said.

Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko added that TNK-BP spends "practically all of its profit, almost $8 billion" on dividends.

"Eight billion dollars?" Putin clarified incredulously.

TNK-BP, a joint venture between BP and a consortium of Russian oligarchs, was created in 2003 and is the third biggest oil producer in , a precious asset for the British oil giant representing a quarter of its global production.

The company has had its share of frictions with the Russian authorities, however.

Last year TNK-BP's Russian shareholders stalled a landmark alliance between BP and Russia's state oil producer Rosneft.

The this week said on its website that it was investing funds to repair infrastructure inherited from the Soviet era, adding that "solving historic pollution problems in this region calls for cooperation of all companies".

Explore further: Coastal defences could contribute to flooding with sea-level rise

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Putin unveils $500 bn offshore energy drive

Apr 12, 2012

Vladimir Putin vowed Thursday to win $500 billion in investment for Russian offshore field development over 30 years to tap the country's full energy potential with the help of foreign expertise.

BP fined $25 million over Alaska oil spill

May 03, 2011

BP has been fined $25 million and ordered to spend an estimated $60 million to improve pipeline safety in Alaska after a 2006 oil spill there, US authorities said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Tracking giant kelp from space

11 hours ago

Citizen scientists worldwide are invited to take part in marine ecology research, and they won't have to get their feet wet to do it. The Floating Forests project, an initiative spearheaded by scientists ...

Heavy metals and hydroelectricity

13 hours ago

Hydraulic engineering is increasingly relied on for hydroelectricity generation. However, redirecting stream flow can yield unintended consequences. In the August 2014 issue of GSA Today, Donald Rodbell of ...

What's wiping out the Caribbean corals?

14 hours ago

Here's what we know about white-band disease: It has already killed up to 95 percent of the Caribbean's reef-building elkhorn and staghorn corals, and it's caused by an infectious bacteria that seems to be ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

jerryd
not rated yet Apr 22, 2012

They expected different from BP?