Russian govt plans to tighten rules on prevention of shelf oil spills

The Russian government plans to entrust oil companies working on the continental shelf with the duty of preventing spills and eliminating consequences, the government said on Tuesday.

Authorities plan to amend federal laws on the Russian continental shelf and on internal sea waters, inland seas and Russia’s contiguous zone.

In particular, under the draft of the law, companies will be obliged to have plans on the prevention and elimination of oil and oil product spills.

Moreover, th companies working on the shelf will have to verify their financial ability to carry out measures aimed at preventing and eliminating accidental oil spills, including the possible attraction of additional forces and funds. The companies will also have to fully compensate for damages, including aquatic bioresources and third parties.

The new rules will be applied to companies using man-made islands, facilities and installations, offshore pipelines, as well as to those companies carrying out drilling operations, transportation and storage of oil and oil products on the Russian continental shelf, in internal seas and other inland waters.

In April 2010, five million barrels of oil poured into the Gulf of Mexico, damaging the fragile wetlands of Louisiana, washing oil products ashore in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida and hitting coastal industries including fishing and tourism.

The spill was stopped only on August 4.

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