Russian scientists will evaluate the level of soil pollution in the areas oil and gas production in the Arctic
Scientists of St. Petersburg State University (SPbU) will study the characteristics of the migration of substances that pollute the soils of the northern regions of oil and gas production in Western Siberia under the conditions of climate change and global warming in the Arctic. The data collected will allow to assess the level of pollution, as well as to understand the characteristics of the spread of hazardous chemicals in the area, told TASS Stepan Kukushkin, Associate Professor of the Department of Geo-Ecology & Environmental Management at the Institute of Earth Sciences of St. Petersburg State University.
“Climate change in the Arctic contributes to an increase in the depth of thawing of permafrost, which can lead to an increase in the intensity of migration of pollutants in the process of human activities. Therefore, it is necessary to understand whether these polluted areas will increase or remain the same. In the project, we are interested in the Nadym-Pur-Taz region (northern oil and gas region of Western Siberia), where hydrocarbons are mined”, said Stepan Kukushkin.
He noted that the project includes field work in the license areas of oil and gas condensate fields. A comprehensive geo-ecological characterization of the natural complex will be carried out with sampling of soils, rocks, soil water and indicator species of plants. The received samples will be analyzed in the laboratory to determine the level of contaminants in them.
“The fundamental basis of the project will be the assessment of the resistance of tundra and forest-tundra landscapes soils to chemical pollution, the determination of their self-cleaning potential. In addition, the research results can be used by mining companies operating in the region; this will allow them to reduce the risks of possible negative impact on the environment”, added Stepan Kukushkin.
The research was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), which provided a three-year grant.
The Nadym-Pur-Taz region is an important area of hydrocarbons production in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous district, where the largest gas fields: Medvezhye, Urengoy, Yamburg are located.