Russia

Russian Federation Oil Spill Oct 1994 UN DHA Information Reports 1-6


DHA-GENEVA 94/0440

RUSSIAN FEDERATION - OIL SPILL
DHA-GENEVA INFORMATION REPORT NO. 1
26 OCTOBER 1994

1. REPORTS ARE RECEIVED ON A MAJOR OIL SPILL IN THE ARCTIC REGION OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION.

2. ACCORDING TO THIS INFORMATION, A RUPTURED PIPELINE HAS SPILLED BETWEEN ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND AND TWO MILLION BARRELS OF HEAVY CRUDE OIL NEAR THE CITY OF USINSK IN RUSSIA'S KOMI PROVINCE.

3. THE SPILLED OIL HAS SOAKED THE PERMAFROST AND IS POSING A POTENTIALLY MAJOR ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE TO THE FRAGILE ENVIRONMENT OF THE REGION. THE SPILL HAS REACHED THE KOLVA RIVER, A TRIBUTARY OF THE PECHORA RIVER, WHICH FALLS INTO BARENTS SEA.

4. THE SIZE OF THE SLICK IS APPROXIMATELY ESTIMATED AT ONE METRE DEEP, 9.5 TO 14 KM LONG AND 12 METRES WIDE. LIFE WITHIN THE RIVER IS ENDANGERED BY AN OIL SLICK OF THIS SIZE.

5. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT LEAKS FROM THE PIPE HAVE BEEN OCCURRING SINCE FEBRUARY 1994, AND LEAKING OIL HAS BEEN HELD BEHIND AN EARTHEN DAM, WHICH COLLAPSED ON 1 OCTOBER 1994 AFTER HEAVY RAINS. THE DIKE WAS REPORTEDLY RESTORED ON 4 OCTOBER 1994, HOWEVER, AN INITIAL CLEAN-UP WORK WAS SUSPENDED ON 18 OCTOBER 1994 BECAUSE OF COLD AND SNOW.

6. THE JOINT UNEP/DHA ENVIRONMENT UNIT IS IN CONTACT WITH THE RUSSIAN MINISTRY OF EMERGENCIES (EMERCOM) AND THE MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT. SO FAR, THERE IS NO GOVERNMENTAL REQUEST FOR INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE.

7. FURTHER INFORMATION ON THIS LARGE-SCALE ACCIDENT WILL BE PROVIDED, ONCE RECEIVED FROM COMPETENT NATIONAL AUTHORITIES.

+ DEPARTMENT OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS =

TELEPHONE NO: +41-22-917.12.34
EMERGENCY TEL. NO. (IN CASE OF EMERGENCY ONLY): +41-22-917.20.10

DESK OFFICER: MR. VLADIMIR SAKHAROV DIRECT TEL: +41-22-917.11.42
PRESS TO CONTACT: MR. KHATIB, DIRECT TEL: +41-22-917.28.56

TELEX: 414242 DHA CH
FAX: +41-22-917.00.23
ELECTRONIC MAIL: UNIENET DIALCOM 141: DHAGVA

DPR 310 RUS


DHA-GENEVA 94/0443

RUSSIAN FEDERATION - OIL SPILL
DHA-GENEVA INFORMATION REPORT NO. 2
27 OCTOBER 1994

THE MINISTRY OF EMERGENCIES (EMERCOM) HAS MADE AVAILABLE NFORMATION ON A MAJOR OIL SPILL IN THE ARCTIC REGION OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION, WITH A REFERENCE TO A PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT RECEIVED FROM LOCAL AUTHORITIES OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOMI. MAIN ELEMENTS OF THIS PRELIMINARY INFORMATION ARE GIVEN BELOW.

1. IN AUGUST 1994 LOCAL SPECIALISTS DISCOVERED A LEAKAGE OF AN OIL PIPELINE. ABOUT 14033 TONNES OF OIL WERE SPILLED IN THE AREA OF THE ACCIDENT.

2. SPECIAL TEAM OF OIL COMPANY KOMINIEFT RESPONDED TO THE ACCIDENT, AND THE PIPELINE WAS REPAIRED BY 12 SEPTEMBER 1994.

3. LOCAL AUTHORITIES INITIATED A CLEAN-UP OF THE AFFECTED AREA.

4. A TEMPORARY DYKE CONTAINING THE OIL SPILL COLLAPSED BECAUSE OF HEAVY RAINS, AND THE SPILL REACHED THE KOLVA RIVER.

5. THE OIL SPILL COVERED 3 KM OF THE LEFT BANK OF THE KOLVA RIVER. ALONG THE BANK OF THE TOWN OF KOLVA THERE ARE SOME OIL SPILLS AS WELL.

6. IN THE PECHORA RIVER, OIL SPILLS HAVE NOT YET BEEN DISCOVERED.

7. FROM 2 OCTOBER 1994 THROUGH 25 OCTOBER 1994, ABOUT 7095 M OF THE KOLVA RIVER BANK WERE CLEANED-UP,AND APPROXIMATELY 2160 CUBIC METERS OF POLLUTED SOIL WERE REMOVED. BY 25 OCTOBER 1994, A CLEAN-UP OF THE BANK IN THE AREA OF THE TOWN OF KOLVA WAS COMPLETED.
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THE RUSSIAN MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT HAS ISSUED A PRESS-RELEASE ON THE ACCIDENT, WHICH CONTAINS, IN PARTICULAR, THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION.

1. OIL PIPELINE ACCIDENT IN THE AREA OF THE TOWN OF OUSINSK WAS DISCOVERED BY ENVIRONMENTAL AUTHORITIES ON 23 AUGUST 1994.

2. THE SIZE OF SOME POLLUTED AREAS WAS UP TO 300 X 400 M. THE SPILLED OIL WAS 3-40 CM DEEP.

3. ON 14 SEPTEMBER 1994, THE AMOUNT OF SPILLED OIL WAS ESTIMATED, ON THE BASIS OF EXISTING METHODOLOGY, AT 14033 TONNES.

4. EXPERTS FROM THE MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOMI TOOK PART IN AN INVESTIGATION AND ELABORATION OF MEASURES TO RESPOND TO THE ACCIDENT. RESPONSE ACTION INCLUDED A CLEAN-UP, AS WELL AS CONSTRUCTION OF 4 COFFER-DAMS ON MINOR WATER COURSES AND DYKES .

5. AT THE END OF SEPTEMBER - BEGINNING OF OCTOBER 1994, THE COFFER-DAMS COLLAPSED BECAUSE OF HEAVY RAINS. OIL SPILLS OF UP TO 1 KM LONG OCCURRED IN THE RIVER KOLVA. AN OIL SPILL OF 10 KM LONG AND UP TO 3 METRES WIDE WAS DISCOVERED ON THE BANKS OF THE RIVER OUSA (A TRIBUTARY OF THE RIVER PECHORA).

6. ACCORDING TO AN INFORMATION RECEIVED BY THE MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION FROM ENVIRONMENT AUTHORITIES OF THE NENETSK AUTONOMOUS REGION, THE AMOUNT OF THE SPILLED OIL MAY BE UP TO 60.000 TONNES. IN THIS CONNECTION, THE RUSSIAN MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT TOOK A DECISION ON 21 OCTOBER 1994 TO SEND TO THE ACCIDENT SITE AN INTER-AGENCY COMMISSION, WHICH CONSISTS OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT, STATE COMMITTEE ON WATER RESOURCES, STATE COMMITTEE ON HYDROMETEOROLOGY, STATE COMMITTEE ON FISHERY, AND THE MINISTRY OF EMERGENCIES. THE COMMISSION IS GIVEN A TASK TO DETERMINE THE SCALE OF THIS ACCIDENT, AND TO DEFINE WHETHER THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION MEASURES ARE SUFFICIENT. ON 26 OCTOBER 1994, THE COMMISSION LEFT FOR THE CITY OF OUSINSK.

7. ACCORDING TO AN INFORMATION RECEIVED BY THE RUSSIAN MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT FROM THE REPUBLIC OF KOMI, THE LEVEL OF OIL POLLUTION OF THE RIVER PECHORA ON 26 OCTOBER 1994 DID NOT EXCEED THE MAXIMUM PERMISSIBLE CONCENTRATION (MPC). ONLY IN THE DELTA OF THE RIVER OUSA, WHICH FALLS INTO THE RIVER PECHORA, OIL POLLUTION IS UP TO 2-3 MPC. THERE IS NO OIL FILM THERE.

8. THE MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION CONSIDERS THIS ACCIDENT AS EXTREMELY HAZARDOUS TO THE ENVIRONMENT. THE MINISTRY WILL MONITOR THE SITUATION AT THE ACCIDENT SITE, AS WELL AS IN THE AREA OF MIDDLE AND LOWER PECHORA, TILL CLEAN-UP WORKS ARE COMPLETED.
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THE JOINT UNEP/DHA ENVIRONMENT UNIT IS IN CONTACT WITH THE RUSSIAN MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND OTHER NATIONAL COMPETENT AUTHORITIES.

FURTHER INFORMATION ON THIS ACCIDENT WILL BE PROVIDED, ONCE RECEIVED FROM COMPETENT NATIONAL AUTHORITIES.

+ DEPARTMENT OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS =

TELEPHONE NO: +41-22-917.12.34
EMERGENCY TEL. NO. (IN CASE OF EMERGENCY ONLY): +41-22-917.20.10

DESK OFFICER: MR. V. SAKHAROV DIRECT TEL: +41-22-917.11.42
PRESS TO CONTACT: MR. KHATIB, DIRECT TEL: +41-22-917.28.56

TELEX: 414242 DHA CH
FAX: +41-22-917.00.23
ELECTRONIC MAIL: UNIENET DIALCOM 141: DHAGVA

DPR 310 RUS


DHA-GENEVA 94/0450

RUSSIAN FEDERATION - OIL SPILL
DHA-GENEVA INFORMATION REPORT NO. 3
2 NOVEMBER 1994

AN UP-DATED OFFICIAL INFORMATION ON THE ACCIDENT HAS BEEN RECEIVED FROM THE RUSSIAN MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND THE RUSSIAN MINISTRY OF EMERGENCIES (EMERCOM).

1. THE MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION AND EMERCOM, WITH PARTICIPATION OF EXPERTS FROM RELEVANT MINISTRIES AND AGENCIES, HAVE ASSESSED THE SCALE AND IMPACT OF AN ACCIDENT AT OIL-GAS-WATER EMULSION PIPE-LINE IN OUSINSK REGION OF THE REPUBLIC OF KOMI .

2. ACCORDING TO EXPERTS' ASSESSMENT, THE AMOUNT OF SPILLED OIL IS 14033 TONNES. A LARGE SCALE WORK IS BEING CARRIED OUT TO RESPOND TO CONSEQUENCES OF THIS ACCIDENT. IN PARTICULAR, THE DAMAGED SECTION OF THE PIPE-LINE, 5,2 KM LONG, HAS BEEN REPLACED. WORKS CONTINUE ON TOTAL REPLACEMENT OF THE HAZARDOUS PIPE-LINE, WHICH WILL BE COMPLETED BY 1 DECEMBER 1994. A CLEAN-UP OF WATER COURSES AND LAND IS BEING IMPLEMENTED. RESPONSE MEASURES ARE ENSURED BY SUFFICIENT TECHNICAL AND PERSONNEL RESOURCES.

3. RUSSIAN EXPERTS ARE ASSESSING ECOLOGICAL IMPACT OF THIS ACCIDENT. TAKING INTO ACCOUNT UNFAVOURABLE WETHER CONDITIONS, A MISSION OF INTERNATIONAL EXPERTS TO THE REPUBLIC OF KOMI AT THIS STAGE IS NOT FEASIBLE.

4. IN THE OPINION OF THE RUSSIAN MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND EMERCOM, AN ASSISTANCE OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS COULD BE USED TO PROVIDE TO LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL AUTHORITIES MEASURING INSTRUMENTS AND EQUIPMENT TO MONITOR PETROLEUM PRODUCTS IN WATER AND SOIL.
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ENVIRONMENT CANADA HAS SUPPLIED THE JOINT UNEP/DHA ENVIRONMENT UNIT WITH A COMPENDIUM OF TECHNICAL INFORMATION REGARDING ARCTIC ENVIRONMENTAL EMERGENCY ISSUES. THIS VALUABLE DOCUMENTATION HAS BEEN IMMEDIATELY PASSED TO RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES.

THE WORLD CONSERVATION MONITORING CENTRE, BASED IN THE UNITED KINGDOM, HAS PREPARED MAPS SHOWING THE LOCATION OF THE SPILL AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON ECOLOGICAL FEATURES OF THE REGION. THESE MATERIALS HAVE ALSO BEEN TRANSMITTED TO RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES.

+ DEPARTMENT OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS =

TELEPHONE NO: +41-22-917.12.34
EMERGENCY TEL. NO. (IN CASE OF EMERGENCY ONLY): +41-22-917.20.10

DESK OFFICER: MR. V. SAKHAROV DIRECT TEL: +41-22-917.11.42
PRESS TO CONTACT: MR. KHATIB, DIRECT TEL: +41-22-917.28.56

TELEX: 414242 DHA CH
FAX: +41-22-917.00.23
ELECTRONIC MAIL: UNIENET DIALCOM 141: DHAGVA

DPR 310 RUS


DHA-GENEVA 94/0481

RUSSIAN FEDERATION - OIL SPILL
DHA-GENEVA INFORMATION REPORT NO. 4
19 NOVEMBER 1994

1. A RUSSIAN FEDERATION INTER-AGENCY MEETING HAS BEEN HELD IN MOSCOW ON 15 NOVEMBER TO REVIEW THE RECENT OIL SPILL IN THE REPUBLIC OF KOMI.

2. THE MEETING WAS HELD AT THE MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT UNDER THE CHAIRMANSHIP OF DEPUTY ENVIRONMENT MINISTER VICTOR KOSTIN. ALL MAJOR ORGANIZATIONS CONCERNED WITH THE OIL SPILL AT BOTH LOCAL AND NATIONAL LEVEL WERE REPRESENTED, INCLUDING THE MINISTRY OF CIVIL DEFENCE AFFAIRS, EMERGENCIES AND ELIMINATION OF CONSEQUENCES OF NATURAL DISASTERS (EMERCOM).

3. THE MEETING RE-AFFIRMED THAT APPROXIMATELY 14,000 TONNES OF OIL WAS RELEASED IN THE LAST OIL SPILL IN THE AREA.

4. THE MEETING NOTED THAT THERE ARE AMPLE NUMBERS OF HIGHLY QUALIFIED SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS AVAILABLE IN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION AND THAT CONSEQUENTLY THERE IS CURRENTLY NO REQUIREMENT FOR ANY INTERNATIONAL ASSESSMENT OR FACT-FINDING MISSIONS EITHER THROUGH MULTILATERAL OR BILATERAL CHANNELS.

5. THE RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES WILL CONDUCT ADDITIONAL ASSESSMENTS OF THE OIL SPILL INCLUDING FURTHER USE OF SATELLITE IMAGERY AND AERIAL RECONNAISANCE. THE RESULTS OF SUCH ADDITIONAL ASSESSMENTS ARE EXPECTED TO BE AVAILABLE BY JANUARY 1 1995.

6. ON THE BASIS OF THE ASSESSMENT RESULTS, A DECISION WILL BE TAKEN AS TO A POSSIBLE MISSION OF AN INTERNATIONAL TEAM UNDER THE AUSPICES OF UN-DHA AND UNEP TO ASSESS THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE SPILL AND POSSIBLE REQUIREMENTS FOR ANY INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE.
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THE JOINT UNEP/DHA ENVIRONMENT UNIT RECEIVED SPOT-IMAGE SATELLITE IMAGES OF THE ACCIDENT SITE DONATED BY ENVIRONMENT CANADA. THE IMAGES HAVE BEEN PASSED ON TO THE RELEVANT RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES TO HELP THEM WITH THEIR ASSESSMENT OF THE EMERGENCY.
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UNLESS THERE ARE UNFORESEEN DEVELOPMENTS, FURTHER INFORMATION REPORTS WILL ONLY BE ISSUED BY DHA WHEN THE RESULTS OF THE ASSESSMENT SURVEYS ARE RELEASED BY THE RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES AFTER JANUARY 1ST 1995.

+ DEPARTMENT OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS - GENEVA +

TELEPHONE NO: +41-22-917-1234

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY ONLY: TELEPHONE +41-22-917-2010

DESK OFFICERS: MR. V. SAKHAROV, MR. G. LE CLAIRE
RESPECTIVE DIRECT TELS: +41-22-917-11.42, +41-22-917.11.73
PRESS TO CONTACTS: MR. KHATIB, DIRECT TEL: +41-22-917.28.56

TELEX: 414242 DHA CH
FAX: +41-22-917-0023
ELECTRONIC MAIL: DIALCOM 141: DHAGVA
DPR 310 RUS


DHA-GENEVA 94/0515

RUSSIAN FEDERATION - OIL SPILL
DHA-GENEVA INFORMATION REPORT NO. 5
7 DECEMBER 1994

1. FOLLOWING AN OFFICIAL REQUEST FOR ASSISTANCE FROM THE MINISTRY OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION FOR CIVIL DEFENCE, EMERGENCIES AND ELIMINATION OF CONSEQUENCES OF NATURAL DISASTERS (EMERCOM OF RUSSIA), THE UN DEPARTMENT OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS THROUGH THE JOINT UNEP/DHA ENVIRONMENT UNIT IS DISPATCHING A TEAM OF INTERNATIONAL EXPERTS TO THE SITE OF THE RECENT OIL SPILL IN THE KOMI REPUBLIC.

2. THE TEAM, WHICH WILL BE OPERATING UNDER DHA AUSPICES, IS COMPOSED OF TWO EXPERTS EACH SECONDED TO THE MISSION BY THE GOVERNMENTS OF CANADA, NORWAY, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE EUROPEAN UNION. THE EIGHT EXPERTS WERE SELECTED FOR THEIR EXPERIENCE IN ARCTIC OIL SPILL RESPONSE AND CLEAN-UP, ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT AND PIPELINE ENGINEERING. THE EXPERTS ARE LED BY TWO UN STAFF MEMBERS FROM DHA AND THE JOINT UNEP/DHA ENVIRONMENT UNIT.

3. THE UN MISSION WILL BE COLLABORATING VERY CLOSELY WITH RUSSIAN EXPERTS WHO HAVE BEEN ASSESSING THE EXTENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF THE OIL SPILL. THE UN EXPERTS WILL BE HOLDING REVIEW MEETINGS WITH THE RELEVANT AUTHORITIES IN MOSCOW BEFORE TRAVELLING TO THE SITE OF THE SPILL TO CARRY OUT THEIR OWN INDEPENDENT ASSESSMENT. THE MISSION WILL AIM TO IDENTIFY THE EXTENT OF THE RECENT SPILL, ASSESS ANY POTENTIAL FOR TRANSBOUNDARY POLLUTION BY OIL AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS AS TO THE MOST APPROPRIATE COURSE OF ACTION FOR THE RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES.

4. WHEN THE EIGHT DAY MISSION IS COMPLETED, THE TEAM WILL PRESENT THEIR FINDINGS TO THE RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES, AS WELL AS TO UNEP AND DHA.

+ DEPARTMENT OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS =

TELEPHONE NO: +41-22-917.12.34
EMERGENCY TEL. NO. (IN CASE OF EMERGENCY ONLY): +41-22-917.20.10

DESK OFFICERS: MR. V. SAKHAROV, MR. G. LE CLAIRE
RESPECTIVE DIRECT TELS: +41-22-917.11.42, +41-22-917.11.73
PRESS TO CONTACT: MR. KHATIB, DIRECT TEL: +41-22-917.28.56

TELEX: 414242 DHA CH
FAX: +41-22-917.00.23
ELECTRONIC MAIL: UNIENET DIALCOM 141: DHAGVA

DPR 310 RUS'94 (1)


DHA-GENEVA 94/0532

RUSSIAN FEDERATION - OIL SPILL
DHA-GENEVA INFORMATION REPORT NO. 6
20 DECEMBER 1994

1. THE RECENT UN ASSESSMENT MISSION TO ARCTIC RUSSIA CONCLUDED THAT THE AMOUNT OF OIL SPILLED FROM PIPELINES IN THE VOZEY/USINSK AREA OF THE KOMI REPUBLIC IS AT LEAST FIVE TIMES HIGHER THAN OFFICIALLY CLAIMED BY THE KOMI OFFICIALS BUT THAT IT IS UNLIKELY TO HAVE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT OUTSIDE OF RUSSIA.

2. THE MULTINATIONAL TEAM, COMPRISING TOP EXPERTS SECONDED BY CANADA, THE UNITED STATES, NORWAY AND THE EUROPEAN UNION, WAS INVITED BY THE MINISTRY OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION FOR CIVIL DEFENCE, EMERGENCIES AND THE ELIMINATION OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF NATURAL DISASTERS (EMERCOM) TO INDEPENDENTLY REVIEW THE WORK OF RUSSIAN EXPERTS WHO HAD BEEN CARRYING OUT DETAILED INVESTIGATIONS INTO THE EXTENT OF OIL POLLUTION. THROUGHOUT, EMERCOM PROVIDED FULL AND OPEN ACCESS TO THEIR DATA AS REQUIRED AND SUPPORTED THE MISSION BOTH IN MOSCOW AND IN THE KOMI REPUBLIC OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION.

3. THE TEAM, WORKING UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME/DEPARTMENT OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS (UNEP/DHA) ENVIRONMENT UNIT, CONCLUDED THAT THE WORK OF GEOPOLIS, THE CONSULTANTS COMMISSIONED BY EMERCOM TO CARRY OUT THE DETAILED EXAMINATION OF THE SITE, WAS OF A HIGH STANDARD AND THAT THEIR RESULTS ARE AS ACCURATE AS CAN BE REASONABLY ASSESSED FROM FIELD METHODS ALONE WITH OUT DETAILED PIPELINE METERING RECORDS.

4. THE COMPANY IDENTIFIED AREAS WHERE THE SPILLED OIL COULD ACCUMULATE BY THE USE OF AERIAL RADAR AND SATELLITE IMAGERY AND THEN CARRIED OUT FIELD SURVEYS IN EARLY DECEMBER TO DETERMINE THE EXTENT OF OIL DISCHARGED. GEOPOLIS SURVEYED TWENTY FOUR SITES AND CALCULATED THAT THE SURFACE AREA OF CURRENT POLLUTION IS APPROXIMATELY 65 HECTARES.

5. THE GEOPOLIS TEAM ESTIMATES THAT THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF SPILLED OIL REMAINING ON THE LAND AS OF DECEMBER 4TH IS AT LEAST 79,000 TONNES (93,000 CUBIC METRES OR 585,000 BARRELS). THE OFFICIAL KOMI REPUBLIC ESTIMATE IS THAT 14033 TONNES WERE SPILLED (16,500 CUBIC METRES OR 104,000 BARRELS). THE GEOPOLIS FIGURES DO NOT INCLUDE OIL THAT HAS BEEN RECOVERED OR BURNED OFF. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO VERIFY HOW MUCH OIL HAD ESCAPED TO THE RIVERS PRIOR TO THE GEOPOLIS INVESTIGATION.

6. ON THE BASIS OF EXAMINATION OF THE GEOPOLIS WORK AND DATA FROM OTHER STUDIES, THE UN TEAM CONCLUDED THAT THESE FIGURES ARE AREA SONABLE ESTIMATE OF THE EXTENT OF THE AMOUNT OF REMAINING OIL DISCHARGED TO THE TERRESTRIAL ENVIRONMENT. THE TEAM ALSO CONCLUDED THAT THE OIL POLLUTION IS NOT FROM A SINGLE SPILL BUT HAS RESULTED FROM MANY DIFFERENT OIL SPILLS OCCURRING OVER MANY YEARS, WITH AN INCREASING FREQUENCY OF SPILLS IN THE SUMMER AND AUTUMN OF 1994.

7. THERE IS CONCERN THAT WHEN THE ICE MELTS IN SPRING, RELEASING TRAPPED OIL, THE LOCAL ENVIRONMENT IS LIKELY TO BE SIGNIFICANTLY I MPACTED UNLESS REMEDIAL ACTION IS UNDERTAKEN.

8. THE TEAM AGREED THAT IT IS POSSIBLE THAT SOME OF THE OIL COULD REACH THE BARENTS SEA WHEN THE ICE MELTS IN THE SPRING BUT THE COSENSUS AMONG THE GROUP OF EXPERTS WAS THAT THIS WOULD BE UNLIKELY TO PRESENT A SIGNIFICANT THREAT TO THE ENVIRONMENT OF THE BARENTS SEA.

9. ALTHOUGH THE CURRENT LEVEL OF POLLUTION IS UNLIKELY TO HAVE A SIGNIFICANT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OUTSIDE RUSSIA, THE CONTINUED CHRONIC POLLUTION FROM THE OIL FIELDS IS LIKELY TO HAVE AN INCREASINGLY DETRIMENTAL EFFECT OVER TIME. THEREFORE, IT IS IMPORTANT TO REDUCE THE POLLUTION LOAD BEING DISCHARGED TO THE RIVERS AROUND THE REGION IF LONG-TERM ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION IS TO BE AVOIDED.

10. THE MISSION ENDED WITH A PRESS CONFERENCE HELD AT THE HEADQUARTERS OF EMERCOM ON THURSDAY 15TH DECEMBER. EMERCOM ANNOUNCED THAT THE GEOPOLIS FIGURES, HAVING BEEN INTERNATIONALLY VERIFIED, WILL BE ADOPTED BY THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT AS THE BASIS FOR FUTURE ACTION. IT ALSO STRESSED THE IMPORTANCE OF THE UN MISSION AND WELCOMED IT'S SUCCESSFUL CONCLUSION.

11. THE FINAL REPORT OF THE TEAM, TO BE ISSUED IN EARLY 1995, WILL IDENTIFY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT TO HELP THEM COMBAT OIL SPILLS IN THIS AND OTHER REGIONS.
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THE UNEP/DHA ENVIRONMENT UNIT WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL PARTICIPATING COUNTRIES AND ORGANIZATIONS FOR RESPONDING SO RAPIDLY AND POSITIVELY TO THIS REQUEST FOR INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE AND ALLOWING SUCH EXPERTISE TO BE PLACED AT THE DISPOSAL OF THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT.

THE UNEP/DHA ENVIRONMENT UNIT WOULD ALSO LIKE TO THANK THE FOLLOWING ORGANIZATIONS FOR PROVIDIN G RELEVANT INFORMATION WHICH HAS BEEN PASSED ONTO THE RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES: ENVIRONMENT CANADA, US-EPA, THE WORLD CONSERVATION MONITORING CENTRE (UNEP-IUCN), BARPI OF THE FRENCH MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND THE NATIONAL REMOTE SENSING CENTRE IN THE UK.
+ + +
UNLESS THERE ARE UNFORESEEN DEVELOPMENTS, THIS WILL BE THE LAST INFORMATION REPORT ISSUED ON THE RUSSIAN OIL SPILL.
+ + +
+ DEPARTMENT OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS - GENEVA +

TELEPHONE NO: +41-22-917-1234
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY ONLY: TELEPHONE +41-22-917-2010

DESK OFFICERS: MR. V. SAKHAROV, MR. G. LE CLAIRE
RESPECTIVE DIRECT TELS: +41-22-917-11-42, +41-22-917-11-73
PRESS TO CONTACT: MR. KHATIB, DIRECT TEL: +41-22-917-28-56