Waste to 500 billion rubles: Rosneft and LUKOIL found illegal dumps

The structure of the Ministry of Health has uncovered unauthorized dumps of drilling waste at oil fields in Western Siberia. Experts estimated the damage of 500 billion rubles. Rosprirodnadzor will inspect the fields.
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Ministry of Health warns

The Center for Strategic Planning and Management of the Medical and Biological Health Risks (DSP) of the Ministry of Health has uncovered unaccounted-for drilling waste at the licensed sites of Rosneft, LUKOIL-Western Siberia and other oil companies in the Khanty-Mansiysk and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Districts (KhMAO and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Districts) - a bitumen mixture. This is stated in a letter of the interim director of this center Oksana Sinitsyna, sent on February 7 to the head of Rosprirodnadzor Artem Sidorov. RBC has a copy of this letter, its authenticity was confirmed by Nikolai Samutin, head of the laboratory for environmental and hygienic assessment of waste of the DSP, who participated in the preparation of this study. Zamrukovoditelya Rosprirodnadzor Amirkhan Amirkhanov added that the letter was received.

According to the evaluation of DSP experts in the letter, if waste is included in unaccounted graves to the fourth hazard class, then only at Rosneft's fields (about 20 million cubic meters of waste) the accumulated damage to the environment will exceed 500 billion rubles.

How did the DSP count

Interview with Oksana Sinitsyna, director of the Center, used the waste disposal rate of 630 rubles to calculate environmental damage at the Rosneft fields in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District. for 1 ton (the conversion factor of 1 cubic meter per ton is 1.6), and also took into account the 25-fold payment for excess waste. 20 million x 1.6 x 630 x 25 = 504 billion rubles.

Discovered unauthorized dumps of the DSP during 2016-2018 carried out the state order for environmental and hygienic assessment of the environment in the oil and gas fields of the Khanty-Mansi and Yamalo-Nenets districts. For two years the center analyzed technologies for neutralizing hazardous wastes, which were used by service contractors of oil and gas companies.

The study was conducted on the instructions of the Ministry of Health, explained Samutin. Work on environmental and hygienic assessment of the environment in the oil and gas fields of Khanty-Mansiysk and Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District was carried out within the framework of the state task for the implementation of applied scientific research, the representative of the Ministry of Health added.

One of the reasons for violations of environmental legislation is the "system crisis" in the leadership of the territorial bodies of Rosprirodnadzor and FGBU "Center for Laboratory Analysis and Technical Measurements for the Urals Federal District" (CLATI). The Department of Rosprirodnadzor in Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District has coordinated the projects on remediation of oil drilling waste in 2014, in accordance with the notification procedure, without passing the state ecological expertise. The result of this violation of the law was the uncontrolled treatment of hazardous industrial waste, in particular drilling mud, as indicated in the letter. "This led to the formation of a large number of unauthorized landfills in the territories of licensed areas of Rosneft, LUKOIL-Western Siberia and other oil companies," Sinitsyna writes.

Dangerous mixture

Drilling mixture - building material from oil drilling waste, drill cuttings. It is used to strengthen the slopes of infield roads, protect clusters from erosion, as well as to recultivate slurry barns.

The technology of production of a bitumen mixture in 2010 received a negative conclusion of the state ecological expertise, but this material is widely used, told RBC Nikolay Samutin. According to him, penoizol, which is part of this mixture, forms a formalin solution when it comes into contact with water - it is a toxic substance of the second hazard class, a carcinogen. Its entry into the soil leads to a significant deterioration of the ecological situation.

Rosneft's subsidiary, Samaraneftegaz, tested its technology in 50 mice in 2015 for the utilization of oil drilling products from slurry barns in three fields, including Vetlianskoe, the company said. Mice were fed in small amounts (injected orally) with liquid or sludge from drilling barns or wells, and then within a week they estimated the time of their death and the picture of intoxication. According to the results of these studies, the wastes were classified as the fourth hazard class.

Specialists of the DSP also revealed a "corruption scheme" for understating the hazard class of waste (the lower the class, the lower the disposal costs) in the study of oil drilling waste from the Priobsky and Samotlor deposits of Rosneft, the letter says. Olga Kornilova, the head of the CLATI branch in the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous District, Sinitsyna wrote, gave the following conclusions: "In 2010-2017, 70% of the waste from the fields was classified as the fifth hazard class, and 30% - to the fourth. The DSP research showed that wastes belong to the second class, which is more expensive for landfilling (the disposal of waste of the fourth class includes a payment of 663 rubles per ton, and for the second class waste - 1990 rubles per ton).

Oksana Sinitsyna asked the Head of Rosprirodnadzor Artem Sidorov to consider the issue of dismissal ("further stay") of Olga Kornilova and the head of Rosprirodnadzor for KhMAO Roman Mishenin.

In a conversation with a correspondent of RBC, Kornilova called the conclusions of the TSC incorrect in reality. "We have never estimated the amount of waste of the fifth class at Rosneft's fields in 70%, if we are talking about drilling waste. Waste of the fifth class of danger in this industry from strength of 2%, "she said. According to Kornilova, most of the waste belongs to a heavier hazard class - the fourth. "We have all these statistics for the last seven years of our work, we use the methods of Rosprirodnadzor," she said.

Oksana Sinitsyna declined to comment, Roman Mishenin did not respond to RBC's request.

Rosneft will check

Amirkhan Amirkhanov told RBC that the information from the letter of the Center is being studied and a check will be scheduled in the near future. According to him, an independent laboratory will conduct an inspection with taking chemical samples of oil sludge and a drilling fluid from Rosneft fields in KhMAO. Rosprirodnadzor also sent a request to the Minister of Natural Resources Sergei Donskoi to conduct an audit of Mishenin's compliance, Amirkhanov specified (the representative of the Ministry of Natural Resources said that Donskoi had not yet seen this request).

"We are now determined in which order we will check the invoice stated in the letter. Since the appointment of the date of verification to its end, an average of 20 days, "- said Amirkhanov. Problems with the definition of the hazard class of waste generated by large extractive companies arose more than once, he points out: "Companies benefit from paying less to the budget for storing hazardous waste at landfills, their reclamation is expensive." If in the course of the inspection Rosprirodnadzor inspectors identify understatement of the hazard class of waste or concealment by volume, then the responsible official is punished in the administrative case. In case of harm to animals or people that caused death, when the hazard class is understated several times, a criminal case is initiated (according to Article 247 of the Criminal Code, a fine of up to 300 thousand rubles or imprisonment for a period of five to eight years), warns the official.

Amirkhanov told RBC that if in the course of inspections the facts of burial up to 20 million cubic meters will be proved. m of hazardous waste or understating their hazard class, then companies that are licensed to handle hazardous waste will be held liable. These can be drilling contractors of oil companies - their subsidiaries or third-party contractors, as well as logistics companies involved in the transport of waste and their storage.

Rosprirodnadzor will ask Rosneft for documentation on waste management, and the company should be responsible for the reliability of the information provided about its work with the waste, Amirkhanov said. Administrative officers can also be brought to administrative responsibility, who are responsible for working with the relevant contractors, he said.

"The DSS of the Ministry of Health is not an organ of state power and is not authorized to conduct inspections. The conclusions of this work should be subject to a qualitative assessment by the competent state environmental oversight bodies, "said Rosneft official representative. According to him, the samples of the material examined by the DSP are not waste, but products produced from drilling wastes using technologies that have positive conclusions from the state environmental expertise. Approaches to the disposal of drilling waste, which uses Rosneft, comply with environmental legislation, the source said.

A representative of LUKOIL told RBC that the company does not have waste dumps: all drilling waste produced at LUKOIL's oil production facilities is being processed. "In particular, in Western Siberia, the company works under contracts with organizations that have a license for this type of activity and apply technologies that have received a positive opinion of the state environmental expertise," he added.