A major oil spill from an infield pipeline has reportedly left a spring in central Russia heavily polluted.
Bashneft, a regional subsidiary of oil giant Rosneft, has acknowledged the spill from a pipeline running near the village of Pavlovka in the Bizhbulyaksky district in the Bashkiria region.
The acknowledgement came after local residents and the region's Emergency Situations Ministry posted photographs of the accident online on 1 April, showing a local spring running across a field that has been heavily polluted by a dark substance.
According to the Emergency Situations Ministry, about 300 cubic metres of “an oil and water mixture” has been spilled from a pipeline, running from the nearby Skhapovskoye field that is being developed by Bashneft.
About 350 square metres of ground have been polluted with oil, with spill response teams continuing to remove polluted soil from the site of the incident and transport it to a processing site in the Ishimbaysky district.
Bashneft said in a short statement that “an insignificant volume" of liquid containing oil was spilled and has been surrounded by booms.
"There is no threat of oil-containing liquid entering water reservoirs," it said.
West Siberian accidents
At least two major oil spills were reported in March at oilfields in West Siberia operated by Rosneft subsidiaries Yuganskneftegaz and Nyaganneftegaz.
An oil spill accident on the Malo-Balykskoye field, developed by Yuganskneftegaz, was initially spotted by passengers of a local train who then reported it to authorities.
As representatives of the regional Emergency Situations Ministry arrived to the site, they reportedly discovered that the operator had already taken most of polluted soil from the accident site after failing to promptly report the incident to authorities.
According to an official estimate, up to 1500 cubic metres (about 9434 barrels) of the oil and water mixture was leaked from a ruptured field pipeline to the ground and nearby lakes.
The true scope of oil pollution at the Malo-Balykskoye field will be gauged once all snow melts in the area, according to the ministry.
Another incident was registered on the Talinsky block that is licenced to Nyaganneftegaz, with an estimated 50 cubic metres (about 314 barrels) of oil escaping from a faulty pipeline.
An earlier incident on the Ob river near the West Siberian city of Nizhnevartovsk went viral in Russian social networks in early March as witnesses filmed a fire on the river surface.
According to authorities, light hydrocarbons were leaked from a ruptured pipeline on the riverbed and then ignited.
The pipeline, which is not directly related to Rosneft, links two major gas processing plants in the region.