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  2. A fire occurred at the Alabushin oilfield in Komi. Environmentalists fear hydrogen sulfide emission

A fire occurred at the Alabushin oilfield in Komi. Environmentalists fear hydrogen sulfide emission

Denis Strelkov
Oil-derrick at the Verkhne-Ipatskoye oilfield in 2017
Photo by Anna Kaneva
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A fire occurred at the Alabushin oilfield in the Usinsk district of Komi. The Save Pechora Committee Environmental Organization believes that there could be hydrogen sulfide emission and a petroleum products spill due to the incident. Ivan Ivanov, the Chairman of the organization, told 7x7 about this on April 30.

According to Ivanov, residents of the village of Shchelyabozh saw the smoke spread near the Alabushin oilfield on April 28 and 29, there is no smoke on April 30. The press service of LUKOIL-Komi has affirmed the fire at one of the oil-wells to TASS. According to the company, the fire has been currently extinguished, one worker was injured, he was taken to Usinsk on the medical flight.

Environmentalists from the Save Pechora Committee believe that the accident at the oilfield could lead to pollution of air and nearby forests and the petroleum products spill could theoretically get into the Pechora during the spring flood.

The Committee asked the Pechora Environmental Prosecutor's office to organize a field check, assess potential risks, damage to the environment and people and to take action to hold those responsible accountable.

— If the oil-well caught on fire itself, and there are prolific wells, then there was still an emission of something. So, there are combustion gases… The oil there is high in hydrogen sulfide. Any loss of containment there, even if it doesn't catch fire, — they will set it on fire. Because there is a very high content of hydrogen sulfide. It is heavier than air and very toxic. There is some kind of contamination there, — the Chairman of the Save Pechora Committee told 7x7.

In the spring of 2017, the fire at the Alabushin oilfield was extinguished for more than a month — from April 11 to May 12. Two oil-wells burned. The authorities had to fire about 20 shots from an artillery mount in order to extinguish them.

Residents of the village of Shchelyabozh have been complaining about the smell of hydrogen sulfide since the field development in 2007. The LUKOIL-Komi Company installed sensors in the village to assess the level of pollution, but as local resident Anna Kaneva said in 2017, the sensors were industrial and recorded the ultimate levels of hydrogen sulfide for enterprises, not for people.

Hydrogen sulfide is a toxic gas which is especially dangerous in the presence of hydrocarbons. Its maximum permissible concentration in air is 0.008 ppm for inhabited localities, a person beginning to smell it at a concentration of 0.012–0.03 ppm.


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