The Ministry of Natural Resources proposes to completely abandon oil products in the Arctic
The Public Council under the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources proposes to consider a step-by-step refusal on the use of oil products in the Arctic. According to them, this measure would completely eliminate the risks of emergency spills. This proposal was announced during the last meeting of the Public Council.
Several main reasons for accidents at Arctic industrial facilities, emphasizing the importance of oil products abandonment have been identified. These accidents may also happen due to the technical condition of the infrastructure, incorrect assessment of environmental risks and insufficient control by the supervisory structures. In this regard, members of the Public Council believe that it is necessary to boost the prevention of oil spills.
Oil products are proposed to be gradually replaced by liquid natural gas. “The environmental and economic efficiency of LNG has already been proved and taken as a basis for the environmental strategy of large economic entities”, Interfax quotes the proposal of the Public Council.
Besides, the Council proposed a comprehensive hydrochemical and hydrobiological monitoring of the affected areas in order to objectively assess the environmental damage from the accidents that have already happened. Furthermore, they believe that all of the existing Arctic facilities should be inventoried. “The practice shows that many companies do not fulfil the prescriptions of control and supervision bodies or do not perform them timely. This is unacceptable, because the facilities built 30 or 40 years ago are at risk”, says the statement.
The risk increases the approach of the end of the permafrost era, as the rate of climate change in the Arctic is twice as high as in other areas worldwide. The statement proposes to work out a systematic plan to adapt to global warming and its consequences to all Arctic infrastructures and economic activities.
At the meeting held on July 28, the Public Council generally approved the text of the statement, but the proposals will be finalized according to opinions of all of the participants of the discussion.