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A Wind with the Smell of Kerosene

A Wind with the Smell of Kerosene
Dmitry Verkhoturov 20.07.2006

The summit of “the Great Eight” is at its end, an agreement on energy policy has been approved on it without stirring any noise. It all looks sedately and smoothly from the side. Only there are some moments in this energy policy with safety which need to be looked at thouroughly.

The matter is that energy policy in Russia – is a stick with two ends. Somebody will have luxuous cabinets and milliardes petrodollars and somebody – oily pools, masout washes and a wind with the smell of kerosene. The last are majority, sometimes they they are not separate people but the whole cities. Unfortunately, it’s talked a lot in Russia about the oil, about its extradiction and export, about energy policy but they forget in what conditions people live in those places where the oil is extracted or poured into tankers. It’s worth to remind about it once again. Oil – is not only dollars, but also masout bogs, lakes and rivers in tundra aroud the oil-rigs. It’s also firespouts above such oil bogs, impure earth and water as well as air full of vapor of hydrocarbons. We still are not capable of extracting and transportation of oil without outpouring and accidents.

The city which will be lucky within the limits of energy policy will be Vladivostok. The building of the oil port in the Perevosnaya Bay which is according to the project of the Joint Stock Company “Transneft” should become the end point of oil pipe-line “Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean” carries a threat not only to preserves in the Perevosnaya Bay but also to Vladivostok.

Oil port which Joint Stock Company “Transneft” is going to build in the Bay is situated only in 20km to the south-east from Vladivostok. According to the order of Russia’s Industry and Energy Ministry № 91 оf the 26th of April, 2005 the power of the port will make up 30 mln tons in the first turn, in the second – 50 mln tons of transfer of oil annually.

It seems what should we be afraid of? On the Far East there are several major oil-transfering ports including Vldivostok and Nakhodka. Well, yes, the port in Perevosnaya will be the biggest one, but at the first sight it’s not the cause for the protest. But starting from this point oddities begin. Joint Stock Company “Transneft” doesn’t publish officially the project of the port and oil terminal though it already exists because the order about its building has been signed more than a year ago.

There’s something to be ashamed of as soon as the project supposes an open oil discharge terminal. From the eastern extremity of the penisula Lomonosov for 2500 metres in the eastern direction a pipeline system protrudes into the sea which consists of several valves and on the last 1000 metres the systems for the discharged of oil into the tankers is foreseen. Here you are all the equipment of the port.

Usual big oiltransferring terminals are being tries to be built in the landlocked bays so that to decrease the risk of polution by oil spews which are inevitable during the process of its chopping into the tankers. Port fleet is equipped at that by the ships-oil skimmer for the cleaning of the offshore water. That is how it’s going on in the Baltic ports Ust-Luga and Primorsk.

But here – in the Perevosnaya Bay – a strange variant has been chosen. The terminal is not only not hidden in the landlocked bay but even protruded for 2,5 km inward of Amur Bay which washes ashore of Vladivostok. And nothing’s heard that there will be oil skimmers, say nothing of no order for the production of such ships has been done. No protection port constructions against oil spews are provided.

According to existing standards a loss of 1400 kg of the oil is assumed per 1 thousand tons at the transfer into the tankers. It’s easy to calculate that having port power of 30 mln tons the oil loss makes up 42 thousands tons annually and with 50 mln tons – 70 thousand tons.

Now the most important. As to the conditions of navigation the Perevosnaya Bay is open to the storms of east and south directions, there are 137 storm days in the bay. In Amur Bay north and north-east winds prevail in winter and south and south-west – in summer. The wind speed comprises approximately 8 m/s but can achieve 40 m/s.

Winter winds are not interesting to us as soon as during this period the Perevosnaya Bay is frozen though in such a case the oil has all the chances to get over the distance to the navy reserve. But summer winds that blow from the south and south-west push wind streams to the north, precisely to Vladivostok. In the period of maximum loading of oil during summer navigation when the major part of the spews will get into the water, the wind will push oil in the water and vapors in the air   exactly to the crowded city. It already has bad air due to the presence of numerous oil plants to which the wind with the smell of kerosene from the side of the port in the Perevosnaya Bay will be added. The situation in Vladivostok is far from the healthy one. A smog is frequently appear in the city and the diseases of respiratory organs hold on the first place among the diseases of the adult part of population (48%), chronic bronchitis is on the first place.

This project of the oil port is really a malicious one, quite up to the level of the undertaking to pull through petrol pipe in 800 meters from Baikal. In that case a condition of the biggest lake with fresh water was under the threat and here we have the worst pollution of ashore waters and air of the whole city with the populace of 634 thousand people.

This what the Russian energy policy represents. A small handful of authorized representatives will receive superprofits from the export of the oil while more than a half of million of people in Vladivostok will respire every day the air with the smell of kerosene, look at the oil swell on quay. They will have to forget about resting on the open air as soon as oil from the Perevosnaya Bay will pollute all places of rest of citizens on the north and west of the Amur Bay. Of course, there will be no compensation to be paid to the citizens of Vladivostok as well as a share of the profit from the oil export.

It’s necessary to note that such imprudent neglecting of interests of the Russian citizens can’t be cured. There are quite enough ports and suitable bays in Primorie where is possible to place a new big oil port but the worst and malicious from all possible variants is chosen. «Transneft» spare no pains to push through this very project. Only fundamental clean-up of the management of the oil companies especially of “Transneft” can help to change the attitude to the citizens of Russia.  

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