Who is responsible for Yugra?

Who is responsible for Yugra?

Last year proved to be successful for the ecosystem of Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Yugra: with the appearance of new tendencies for the environmental conditions improvement due to the responsible attitude of large companies-users of mineral resources. In this way the deputy governor of the autonomous okrug Gennadiy Bukhtin defined the results of the last year at the two-day meeting of the workshop dedicated to the coordination of the fuel-and-energy organizations’ production work, implemented in Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Yugra. The matters of the implementation of socio-economic agreements in the sphere of ecology and natural resources use were brought to overall discussion.

Representatives of OAO “Surgut­neftegas”, OAO “Slavneft-Megion­neftegas”, OAO “TNK-BP Manage­ment”, OOO “RN-Yuganskneftegaz”, OAO “Tomskneft”, OOO “Lukoil- West Siberia”, OAO “RITEC”, OOO “Gazpromneft-Khantos”, OAO “Russ­Neft” and “Salym Petroleum Devel­opment N.V.” came to Khanty-Man­siysk to report the results of the last year’s work. All these compa­nies take active part in the devel­opment of Yugra’s subsurface re­sources, and they all are interested in conducting the dialogue with the authorities about the efficient solu­tion of urgent ecological problems. This aspiration was reflected in the final data of the situation in the autonomous okrug, which was an­nounced by Gennadiy Bukhtin: “We reduced the number of emergency situations (from 4 471 to 3 607 ac­cidents), the surface of oil contami­nated soil (from 5 600 to 4 700 hec­tares), the quantity of sludge pits (from 1 700 to 1 638 units) and also speeded up the pace of the oil con­taminated soil revegetation (from 915 to 917 hectares)“.

To take away or not to take away?

The first and the fullest account of the results of her enterprise’s work was presented by the head of the ecological safety and natural resources use control of OAO “Sur­gutneftegas” Lyubov Malyshkina. It was remarked in her report that consistent and systematic reduc­tion of industry’s influence on the environment is a top-priority target of the company. Lyubov Malyshki­na’s words were supported by the sum which OAO “Surgutneftegas” directed for the implementation of environmental protection meas­ures in 2011 – 19 billion instead of 17 billion planned. In 2012 the oil company is determined to main­tain the standard: financing of the ecological programme, implement­ed on the territory of Khanty-Man­siysk Autonomous Okrug – Yugra – will be increased by 1 milliard rou­bles more.

The level of oil contaminat­ed soil remediation by OAO “Sur­gutneftegas” is also very high. In 2011 they recultivated and struck off the register 103 sites with a to­tal area of 108.2 hectares instead of 105.7 hectares planned. In 2012 85.5 hectares of oil contaminated soil are waiting for their turn. It is remarkable that this year the enter­prise is planning to get rid of the rest of old oil contamination on the territory of their licensed sites.

Lyubov Malyshkina paid a spe­cial attention to the reclamation of sites designated for sludge pits, which is conducted without filling operations according to the forest recultivation technology. Since the beginning of this technology appli­cation OAO “Surgutneftegas” has al­ready reclamated 1 239 sludge de­positories, 28 of which – in 2011. It is planned to reclamate 24 sludge pits more this year. As Lyubov Maly­shkina said, thanks to the applica­tion of this technology proper vege-tation cover is formed in 6-10 years already on the territory of sludge pits. In spite of good results, the head of the ecological safety and natural resources use control of the company paid attention to the prob­lems which prevent the implementa­tion of the ecological programme on the territory of Khanty-Mansiysk Au­tonomous Okrug – Yugra. In particu­lar, speaking on behalf of OAO “Sur­gutneftegas” Lyubov Malyshkina protested against the requirement of Rosprirodnadzor (Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resource Usage) Department for KHMAO-Yu­gra to take away the drilling sludge from the places of its landfills re­garless of the climatic conditions, sludge pits location and authorita­tive scientists’ opinions. Apart from the absence of possibility to remove big amounts of waste all year round due to the specific character of exploration work, the fact that there are only two licensed landfills for in­dustrial waste in Surgut district also prevents to fulfill Rosprirodnadzor’s resolution. Herewith only one of the landfills is ready to accept waste be­longing to the fourth class of hazard which includes drilling waste. As Ly­ubov Malyshkina explained, if OAO “Surgutneftegas” had to take away drilling sludge anyway, this landfill would be filled with drilling sludge after 1 quarter. Thus there will be no landfills left for the hazardous waste utilization in the district.

According to the representa­tive of OAO “Surgutneftegas” cur­rent laws and regulations are one more barrier for the implementa­tion of environmental protection measures. “Normative legal regula­tion is too general and doesn’t take into account natural and climatic peculiarities of the region and also doesn’t establish the order of choice of recultivation, technological op­erations, measures for forest lands reclamation. Even the agency re­sponsible for forest lands reclama­tion hasn’t been defined yet,“ – re­marked Lyubov Malyshkina. As a way out the head of the ecological safety and natural resources use control of the oil company suggested delegat­ing the authorities of formulation and implementation of State poli­cy and normative legal regulation in the sphere of disturbed forest lands restoration to Rosleshoz. In his turn the head of Rosprirodnad­zor Administration for Khanty-Man­siysk Autonomous okrug Vyacheslav Antipov commented on Lyubov Malyshkina’s words and remarked that any question should be solved within the limits of the law.

Kilometre-long problems

In the process of the meeting Gennadiy Bukhtin expressed the au­tonomous okrug Government’s anxi­ety about the slow pace of pipelines replacement and asked the repre­sentatives of the companies to at­tract their managers’ attention to this matter. All in all during the last years the number of accidents at pipelines in the region – the main reason for oil contaminated soil – was reduced by 25% due to the en­terprises’ serious attitude to this problem. However the deputy gov­ernor reminded once again about the necessity to observe pipelines’ service time in order to keep the re­sults high.

In 2011 OOO “RN-Yuganskneft­egaz” was ranked first in the region for the number of emergencies at the pipeline. The head of the com­pany’s environment protection de­partment Victor Olkov remarked that the enterprise invests huge sums of money in environment pro­tection measures, particularly in the introduction of work supervis­ing for contaminated lands reclama­tion. But despite big investments, 2/3 of pipeline breaks are connect­ed with OOO “RN-Yuganskneftegaz”. As Victor Olkov explained, the com­pany is doing its best to solve this problem, but the age of the oil field and large size of the pipestock play their role. “We are doing more than everyone else as we are encouraged to. It is not the damage that is the problem, but the fact that nowadays our damage is appraised very tech­nically. In general, the whole pipe­line stock was built on wetlands, when objects were not practically coordinated”.

The head of the regional depart­ment in the sphere of labour safety, industrial security and environment protection of OAO “TNK-BP Western Siberia” Georgiy Maenov, whose en­terprise occupied the second place for emergencies, declared that in

2012 they are planning to take measures for the replacement, not the capital repair of 800 km of pipes. Besides, the Pipeline Equipment De­partment, established in 2008, also must help to lower the number of emergencies at the enterprise.

Not the least, but for some rea­son ignored at all levels, problem of saline lands was raised by the rep­resentative of OAO “Tomskneft” – the deputy manager of the Ecologi-cal Safety Centre Sergey Stovbunik. “Since 2010 we initiated the tech­nology of saline lands restoration. Everybody knows that lands con­taminated with highly mineralized waters also occupy big territories. We are starting to put into practice the technology of saline lands res­toration. Last year we worked on 10 hectares and we already have certain reduction of the number of contaminants, particularly chlo­rides, in the soil“, Sergey Stovbunik remarked. He was supported by the director of the Federal Budget Insti­tution “The Laboratory Analyses and Technical Measurements Centre” in Ural Federal District for KHMAO-Yu­gra Olga Kornilova: “Saline con­tamination is even more hazardous than oil one. And we often don’t pay attention to it: neither in reg­ulations nor during the inspection processes or even when working with control organizations. Grad­ual soil contamination is gradu-ally taking place, and it has already become critical in some regions“.

One more positive result of OAO Tomskneft’s work has become com­plete absence of sludge pits at the enterprise. The reason for this was the transfer of sludge ownership di­rectly to drilling technicians. In this way the company initially builds drillers’ expenses on drilling sludge utilization into the cost per meter. Certainly this method is less profit­able, but it saves the company from the necessity to allocate sites for waste storage.

Going with the wind

The programme of associat­ed petroleum gas (APG) utiliza­tion introduced by the government of Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug in 2011–2012 has already started to pay its way. Though the usual leader in APG utilization – OOO “Lukoil-West Siberia” – low­ered its results up to 86.7% last year. As Irina Nedyak, first cate­gory engineer of labour safety, in­dustrial security and ecology ad­ministration of OOO “Lukoil-West Siberia”, explained, it is connected with the decommissioning of one of compressor stations for subsequent reconstruction. However by 2013 already the level of APG processing will already have reached required 95% due to intended measures.

Active work, connected with the implementation of APG utilization programme, is carried out by OAO “RITEC”. According to Sergey Kot­subnyak, environmental engineer of operational safety, nature con­servation and corporate inspection department, they are building at full speed systems of APG pumping into reservoirs and pressure oil pipeline to pass to consumers. Besides, the level of APG use for auxiliaries at oil fields (due to the increase of APG production) is rising. Consequent­ly in 2012 due to the accomplish­ment of all planned measures APG utilization will make up 81%, and in 2013 – 93.4%.

Also in 2012 OOO “Gazprom­neft-Khantos” is planning to put into operation its own gas-process­ing plant, which will allow the com­pany to have general 95% rate of APG processing in 2013. Neverthe­less gas flaring will continue right up to October 2012.

“Salym Petroleum Development N.V.” is also not going to spoil the general statistics of APG utilization. Besides its own gas turbine elec­tric power station, which processes about 35% of associated petroleum gas, the enterprise made a contract with OOO “Monolit”, whose gas pro­cessing plant will extract propane and butane from APG at Salym oil fields. In January 2012 already the percent of APG utilization in “Salym Petroleum Development N.V.” made up 95.7%. All in all, the company fin­ished 2011 quite successfully and it is not going to stop here. In his re­port the chief geologist of “Salym Pe­troleum Development N.V.” Vladimir Chernyakov shared their plans for the next year, in which the com­pany intends to equip all multiple well platforms with “Mera” devic­es and will continue to introduce the “Smart oil fields” system at new wells. This system will enable the employees to monitor the parame­ters of wells work in real-time. Gen­nadiy Bukhtin remarked this appli­cation of innovative technologies in production as a quite positive course of the company’s development.

The results of the two-day meet­ing became immediate conclusions, the main one being: all enterprises managed to execute their plans for 2011 with different success. At the end of the meeting deputy gover­nor Gennadiy Bukhtin thanked the company for the fruitful collabora­tion and remarked that the improve­ment of environment condition can be really noticed in Yugra over the last years. The deputy gove-rnor also determined priority di­rections for further work: creating workgroups for the regulation of re­cultivated lands reception and elabo-rating general approaches to the re­cording of sludge pits processing. In conclusion Gennadiy Bukhtin ex­pressed his hope for the continua­tion of collaboration in 2012 both in informational and financial ways for the organization of necessary nature protection measures.

The head of the production infrastructure department of V.I. Shpilman Research Center for Sustainable Mining Vladimir Korovin:

The workshop for the coordination of the activities of FEC organizations in Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Yugra was held for the first time, but the necessity for this has been brew­ing for a long time already. The point is that the broad range of nature conservation programs of the increase of APG utilization level, recultivation of disturbed lands, growth of the volume of construction and reconstruction of oilfield pipelines and the reduction of accident risk at them, has been conducted in the okrug for the last five years. Upon the initiative and recom­mendations of the Department of Subsurface Use and the Department of Ecology, oil compa­nies develop their own programs of environmental protection measures. But these programs are created at the level of the company itself, at the level of its demands and view of the situation, and, as a rule, an enterprise doesn’t adhere to any general policy or guideline. This is why meet­ings between companies and the autonomous okrug’s administration, as the saying goes, face to face, are necessary for the coordination of ecological programs, elaboration of agreed app-roaches to the okrug’s development, clarification of some disputable moments. For example, at this meeting it turned out that oil companies look at the question of drilling sludge pro­cessing in different ways: some of them don’t see any problems in its recycling, others think that they are found fault with and given ungrounded fines. As it usually is, the truth is some­where in the middle. It is possible that some hazardous wastes should be recycled, while others are quite suitable for further use at construction and exploitation of oilfield facilities.

Another problem is timely replacement of oilfield pipes. Everybody understands that it is much cheaper to prevent an accident than to eliminate its consequences later. Nevertheless, companies allocate very small amount of means for scheduled, not post accident repair. It is connected with the holding companies’ policy, optimization of expenses at deposits with difficult resources, low well production rates, high water content. It is usual that if invest­ments in such deposits produce low profit for the company, money is invested in other, more attractive projects.

Nowadays the average operation time at all kinds of oilfield pipelines is about 12 years. This means that practically all pipelines of Yugra are overaged. But herewith volumes of re­construction in the okrug are not generally increased, because companies only concern them­selves with emergency pipes.

Every pipe has a registration certificate, in which it is indicated when it was built, replaced, there is data on rheology: what products are transported by the pipe, which aggressiveness, there are calculations on the corrosion rate. Let us suppose that the corrosion rate is 0.5 mm per year. Pipe wall thickness is 4-5 mm. According to the estimation we come up with the re­sult that such pipe can serve for five more years. But the estimation is done on average, and not all pipes are similar. In fact there are also stagnant zones, in which corrosion rate is not only 0.5 mm per year, but several times higher. There are pipelines, whose service life peri­od is not more than 1-2 years, at both Samotlor and many other oil fields. If a big amount of abrasive mechanical impurities is washed out of the well together with oil, they affect a pipe in the same way as a file does. You see, companies will never be able to predict exactly when a break will take place. That’s why we are saying that pipes should be replaced after the es­tablished normative period of their exploitation.

It seems to us that at following workshops it is better to differentiate separate directions: gas utilization, lands remediation, pipelines reconstruction. Very often they don’t intersect. For example, in case an ecologist comes – he doesn’t know what the situation is like with the construction and reconstruction of pipelines and is not able to answer the questions on this topic. I hope that our suggestions will be taken into account in future.

The head of Rosprirodnadzor Administration for Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Yugra Vyacheslav Antipov:

Nowadays the same tenden­cy can be traced in the matters of drilling sludge processing as in the sphere of APG utilization several years ago. This must lead to suc­cessful results, because enormous work was done in the field of APG recycling. In 2007 only OAO “Sur­gutneftegas” conducted APG uti­lization to the extent of 95%. And at that time there were a lot of ar­guments whether taken decisions were correct or not. But now we can see real effect from executed work: most flares have been extinguished, negative influence on the environ­ment has been reduced and asso­ciated gas is used more rational­ly. There is the same problem today with the drilling sludge processing. We have strict laws, but their exe­cution leaves much to be desired, that’s why strengthening of the control over their observance must lead to the improvement of the en­vironment state as well.

The main difficulty of drilling cuttings processing is the absence of advanced technologies, and it is companies’ troubles. Many Russian scientists are ready to grant their projects – we just need to appeal to them. Besides, those enterprises, which produce wastes, must direct­ly attend to their processing: it is right to arrange expenses for sludge processing in every boring meter of a drilling company.

I wish petroleum companies im­plemented all planned programs, di­rected at the environment enhance­ment, to the full extent. The main thing is to start this work.

The director of the branch of the Federal State Institution “The Laboratory Analyses and Technical Measurement Centre in Ural Federal District” for Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Yugra Olga Kornilova:

We constantly talk about the threat of oil contamination, completely forgetting about another danger, connected with mining de­velopment. Nowadays in Yugra many enter­prises, keeping in view the fact that fresh water is hard to get in modern world, use Cenomanian water for the maintenance of reservoir pressure. This is highly-mineralized liquid, which contains a big number of chlo­ride ions. It is deposited at different depths. And wells are drilled, pipes are laid for its ex­traction as well. But due to the fact that it is medium with high mineralization, much stronger oxidation of pipes, than at petrole­um pipelines, takes place. In its turn, it leads to breaks and emergency situations.

Spilled Cenomanian waters kill all living things, and we don’t notice this: soil is clean, there are no oil contaminations. However, we can see the consequences of accidents: vast areas with dried grass, dead trees. Cer­tainly, in the course of time chloride ions wash out, migrate, which means that in some years such sites will gradually begin to come to their normal state. But plants and trees recovery takes a long time. So it is easi­er for the nature to get over small oil con­tamination than the results of Cenomanian water flood.

All enterprises need to perform analyses for chlorides and to estimate total salt con­tent in the soil in case of oil contaminations. It is necessary to follow production tech­nique, to conduct thorough inspection of pipes and their closers in order to prevent accidents. By the way, it is because chloride ions migrate very fast that technologies of salinized soil refinement are more compli­cated than methods of soil clean-up from oil products. The most important thing is for the heads of enterprises to understand the hazard of Cenomanian contamination for the nature.

Deputy director of Forest Management and Timber Industry Administration of the Department of Natural Resources and Non-Energy Sector of Economy for Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug – Yugra Galina Matrosova:

The problems of sludge pits recultivation and drilling waste storage are among the most significant ones, as the main volume of such waste is situa-ted on the forestry fund lands. According to the current legislation dispos­al and storage of production waste on the forestry fund lands are forbidden, and due to this unauthorized dumps and landfills are formed. Processing of drilling waste on the places of its formation is the possible way out of the situation for major oil companies.

Annually fuel-and-energy enterprises allot more than 50 000 hectares on forestry fund lands for the execution of works on the geological study of sub­surface resources, development of mineral resources deposits, construction, reconstruction and exploitation of linear objects. According to the legis-lation, lands, which were used for construction, reconstruction and (or) ex­ploitation of objects, not connected with the formation of forest infrastruc­ture, are liable to remediation. On the territory of the okrug about 20 000 hectares of recultivated lands are approved every year. Unfortunately, re­quirements to their adoption, established by the Russian Federation Law, are obsolete and need certain changes.

The work of Ecological Safety and Natural Resources Management Ad­ministration of OAO “Surgutneftegas” is logical and understandable in the sphere of drilling sludge recycling and sludge pits recultivation – they ob­tain processed construction material for the establishment of roads and drilling sites. Certainly, on condition that contaminated and disturbed lands are submitted by the company within the established time limits. Such so­lution of the problem allows them to reduce the scope of produced drilling sludge, not to increase the area of existing landfills for drilling waste storage and to avoid the appearance of new ones. The Department supports the company’s suggestion to delegate the authorities of formulation and im­plementation of state policy and normative legal regulation in the sphere of disturbed forest lands restoration to Rosleshoz.

For the reduction of emergency situations at pipelines it is necessary to conduct their dismantlement, which is done by OAO “Tomskneft”, OAO “TNK-BP Western Siberia”, OOO “RN-Yuganskneftegaz” companies. In some cas­es capital repair will not help due to the long age of pipelines. Also in 2011 for the recultivation of oil contaminated lands (old flows) OOO “RN-Yugan­skneftegaz” company allotted about 700 hectares of such lands, located on the territory of licensed sites.

Presenting the results of their professional activities, FEC enterprises showed their concern with the ecological problems, ways of their solution, introduction of new technologies and perfection of their long gained ex­perience. On condition of sufficient financing and quality labour in the technical part of the work performance, the areas of oil contaminated, disturbed lands and sludge pits on the territory of the okrug are gradu­ally decreasing.

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