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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 widespread. Investigation finds Russian oil spills six times the size of Deepwater Horizon.


This is a case in 2014 when Lukoil was forced to pay a fine for an oil spill.  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
Name of conflict:Oil spills in Komi Republic, Russia
Country:Russian Federation
State or province:Komi Republic
Location of conflict:Usinsk (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 commodities:Crude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

In 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%).

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Project area: 21
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population: Up to 900,000 (population of Komi Republic)
Start of the conflict:01/01/2014
End of the conflict:01/01/2014
Company names or state enterprises:Lukoil from Russian Federation
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Greenpeace:
Committee to Save Pechora
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Komi indigenous people
Forms of mobilization:Development 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
Potential: Noise pollution, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain: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 & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

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

Russian Oil Disaster, Komi region oil spill sites, Greenpeace,
[click to view]

Toxic Apocalypse Site #18, Usinsk, Russia, Catastrophe Map,
[click to view]

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,
[click to view]

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

Committee to Save Pechora (in Russian)
[click to view]

[1] Lukoil in Izhma district of Komi region
[click to view]

[2] Text of the Komi People's RESOLUTION

Of the protest rally by residents of the villages of city district "Usinsk"
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Photos of the spills in Komi Republic, Greenpeace
[click to view], 2014.Striking: indigenous Komi people in Russia are fed up with oil.
[click to view]

[click to view]

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Last update30/01/2020
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