Gazprom defends arctic safety record

Aug. 17, 2012 at 7:38 AM

MOSCOW, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- A subsidiary of Russian energy company Gazprom defended its safety record at its arctic Prirazlomnaya oil platform against challenges from environmentalists.

Environmental groups questioned emergency response plans embraced by Gazprom Neft Shelf. The Prirazlomnaya rig was towed to the Pechora Sea last year as the first ice-resistant oil rig in the world.

The company was quoted by The Moscow Times as saying emergency response crews "work night and day" and "were trained under a dedicated program for emergency response and first aid in case of sea accidents."

The company, however, said some of the response vessels designated for oil spill response were at least three days away by sea.

Advocacy group Greenpeace this week published a letter from the Russian government suggesting the company's 5-year oil spill response permit, granted in 2007, had expired.

"Despite the fact that Gazprom Neft Shelf has yet to file a corrected plan in compliance with federal requirements, the company is still forging ahead with its plans to drill for oil this summer in Russia's Pechora Sea," said Greenpeace.

The Times report states that the energy company hasn't confirmed or denied that its oil spill response plan had expired.

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