Russia’s Prosecutor General accuses oil and gas companies of environmental violations

Russia's Prosecutor General has met with the head of the Natural Resources Ministry in the wake of an inquiry into environmental violations of Russian oil and gas companies. The results of the inquiry were disappointing.

At the meeting Russia's Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika said that thousands of environmental violations by Russia's oil and gas companies had been discovered.

Mr Chaika added the Ministry of Natural resources and his office should co-operate more closely and promised to toughen up the measures against companies who violate the legislation.

Russia's minister of natural resources Yuri Trutnev said he is concerned about the fact that several oil companies violate license agreements by extracting much more oil than they should.

More than 10 percent of oil from Russia is extracted illegally. This statistic came from a survey by the country’s ministry of natural resources. Rosprirodnadzor, another government environmental watchdog agency, said the situation is even worse. According to the deputy chief of the agency, Oleg Mitvol, some oil companies go far beyond their extraction limits.

“It’s quite often you see companies using only easily accessible oil fields to gain more profit. They are also trying to get as much as they can without paying attention to environmental issues. Experts estimate that extraction limits are being exceeded by 10 to 12 percent. As a result we might face serious complications in the near future,” stressed Mr Mitvol.

The opinion of the deputy chief of Rosprirodnadzor is very important as Mr Mitvol is widely known for his recent environmental raids. Several inspections carried out by Rosprirodnadzor almost brought the Sakhalin-2 gas pipeline project to a standstill after a number of environmental law violations were discovered.