Oil spills in Komi Republic, Russia

One of the biggest fines ordered in Russia's history against an oil company but oil spills in the region are still wide-spread; Investigation finds Russian oil spills six times the size of Deepwater Horizon.


In the Komi Republic near the town of Usinsk in Northern Russia, one of the most serious environmental disasters of the 1990s happened, when oil leaked from a pipeline that had been contained within a dike collapsed on 1 October 1994. Between 100,000 and 120,000 tons of oil spilled out and polluted the area. The clean up was going on for about a year after the disaster happened, but even years later complaints were still filed by local residents.

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Basic Data
NameOil spills in Komi Republic, Russia
CountryRussian Federation
ProvinceKomi Republic
SiteUsinsk (and Izhma) districts
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Oil and gas refining
Specific CommoditiesCrude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsIn Komi Republic, there are 87 oil and gas fields of which 65 are in commercial operation. The largest volume of oil is explored in the fields of Pechora-Kolva Oil and Gas Fields. The majority of oil production is operated by LUKoil-Komi (68,9 % of total production), next to RN-Northern Oil (9,3%).

In 2009, the oil production for the entire Komi Republic was 13,4 million tons, including gas condensate.
Project Area (in hectares) 21
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population Up to 900,000 (population of Komi Republic)
Start Date01/01/1994
End Date01/01/2014
Company Names or State EnterprisesLukoil from Russian Federation
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGreenpeace: http://www.greenpeace.org/

Committee to Save Pechora
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Komi indigenous people
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Soil contamination, Oil spills, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Loss of livelihood
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.In January 2014, LUKoil, one of the companies which is believed to account for most of the spills in the region, has been ordered to pay a 20 million USD fine to Indigenous Peoples of Komi for the destruction and pollution that their spills have caused. Greenpeace Russia stated that this appears to be the biggest such fine ordered in Russia's history.
Sources and Materials

TED Case Studies, Russia Oil Spill, Case Number 265, KOMI, The Russian Arctic Oil Spill,
[click to view]


LUKoil Hit with $18.5M Fine, RIA Novosti, The Moscow Times, 12 January 2014,
[click to view]

Special Report: Oil and ice: worse than the Gulf spill?, by Jessica Bachman, Reuters, 8 November 2010,
[click to view]

Oil and Gas Reserves, LUKOIL,
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Russian Oil Disaster, Komi region oil spill sites, Greenpeace,
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Toxic Apocalypse Site #18, Usinsk, Russia, Catastrophe Map,
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Industry and Energy of the Republic of Komi, Republic of Komi, Official Portal,
[click to view]

Lukoil Fine $20M (€14.76M) for Oil Spills in Russia's Komi Republic, by Laura Sinpetru, Softpedia, 22 January 2014,
[click to view]

A small victory for the Arctic, a huge step for the Komi Peoples, by Jon Burgwald, Greenpeace, 21 January 2014,
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[1] Lukoil in Izhma district of Komi region
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Committee to Save Pechora (in Russian)
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[2] Text of the Komi People's RESOLUTION

Of the protest rally by residents of the villages of city district "Usinsk"
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Media Links

Photos of the spills in Komi Republic, Greenpeace
[click to view]

Other Documents

Villagers embracing the Resolution Source: http://www.iwgia.org/news/search-news?news_id=1011
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Oil spill Source: Greenpeace
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People adopting resolution SOurce: http://www.savepechora.ru/page.php?p=64
[click to view]

Meta Information
Last update06/05/2015