Sunday, November 22, 2009

Permafrost thaw threatens Russia oil and gas complex

Energy Daily via Agence France-Presse: Thawing permafrost caused by global warming is costing Russian energy firms billions of dollars annually in damage control and shrinking Russia's territory, Greenpeace warned in a new study Friday. According to the report by the environmental watchdog, up to 55 billion roubles (1.9 billion dollars) a year is spent on repairs to infrastructure and pipelines damaged by changes in the permafrost in western Siberia.

"For Russia, the biggest threat of the permafrost melt is to oil and gas company infrastructure," said Vladimir Chuprov, who heads Greenpeace's energy programme in Russia. He said that the group had consulted with experts at gas giant Gazprom in writing its report, which detailed the destruction to infrastructure such as pipelines caused by rising temperatures and resulting melt water.

"These are people who see what is happening and are already feeling the economic consequences of it," he told reporters in Moscow…. The permafrost thaw has accelerated in recent years and Russia is now shrinking by 30 square kilometres (12 square miles) per year as icey territory disappears from the coastline, one of the authors of the report, Oleg Anisimov, warned….

Zapadno-Kluchevskoe oil in the Tomsk region of Siberia, shot by Ivan Petrov / Иван Петров, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License

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