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Bovanenkovo – Ukhta 2 undersea gas pipeline incident, Baydaratskaya Bay, Arctic Russia

Part of the Gazprom pipeline placed undersea has broken. Negative environmental impacts of the incident on reindeer herders (Nenets) are kept away from the public.


Bovanenkovo it is the largest field in Yamal in terms of  gas reserves exploitation in the Russian Arctic [3].  Bovanenkovo – Ukhta 2 is one of four natural gas pipelines on the Yamal Peninsula, built by state-owned company Gazprom [1]. The Yamal Peninsula is a strategic place for two main development programs in the Russian Arctic: an energy source of oil and gas industries and modernisation of the Arctic's infrastructure [6]. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Bovanenkovo – Ukhta 2 undersea gas pipeline incident, Baydaratskaya Bay, Arctic Russia
Country:Russian Federation
State or province:Yamal-Nenets Autonomous State
Location of conflict:Baydaratskaya Bay
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific commodities:Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Both Bovanenkovo – Ukhta 1 & 2 pipelines pass across the Baidarata Bay, a gulf in the Kara Sea, which is covered with ice and with temperatures up to -46 degree Celsius. Both pipes are built in such a challenging environment which represent an additional issue for its reparation. Russian government still did not manage to repair the pipeline due to the demanding Arctic environment [1] [2].

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Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:01/05/2019
Company names or state enterprises:Gazprom (Gazprom) from Russian Federation
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:- The Barents Observer, alternative environmental media reports
-Bellona Norwegian environmental group
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Forms of mobilization:Media based activism/alternative media
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Global warming
Potential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Development of alternatives:The alternative proposed by the government and by the company Gazprom is to fix the pipeline under the sea and to continue with the project.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:There is no visible protest reported, so far. The impacts of the broken pipeline are not made public. Literally, the incident is "buried". Apparently, only the Barents Observer reported on the case so far (November 25, 2019).
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[9] Ametistova L.E., Knizhnikov A. Yu (2016) Environmental Aspects of Arctic LNG Projects Development
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] Oil Price (November 2019): Russian Arctic Pipeline Accident Shrouded In Mystery
[click to view]

[3] Gazprom, official website: Bovanenkovo – Ukhta 2 gas pipeline
[click to view]

[4] Secret Compas: NENETS reindeer migration with the Nenets
[click to view]

[5] National Gegraphics: They Migrate 800 Miles a Year. Now It’s Getting Tougher.
[click to view]

[6]The Barents Observer: Suddenly two of Gazprom’s underwater pipelines came to surface in Arctic bay
[click to view]

[7] Oil Gas Fascilities: Gas Begins To Flow in Russia’s Third Arctic Pipeline
[click to view]

[8] President of Russia, official website: Launch of Bovanenkovo-Ukhta 2 gas pipeline and Zapolyarye-Purpe and Kuyumba-Taishet oil pipelines
[click to view]

[2] Eye on the Arctic (December 2019): Underwater gas pipelines in Arctic Russia unexpectedly resurface: report
[click to view]

Other documents

Construction process of the pipelines Source: Gazprom
[click to view]

Yamal in summer Source: Gazprom
[click to view]

Baidaratskaya compressor station Source: Gazprom
[click to view]

Baidaratskaya compressor station Source: Gazprom
[click to view]

Bovanenkovo – Ukhta 1 and 2 piplene Source: Gazprom
[click to view]

Source: Barents Observer
[click to view]

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Last update24/01/2020
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